MEMORIES OF BOB
back in the mists of time my parents got a letter to say that I had been successful in an open audition at Birmingham Rep
to find young fellows to play in their Christmas season show. This was to be an adaptation of 'A Christmas Carol'.
You can imagine my great surprise in discovering that the star of the show was to be Bob Grant. Coming from a house where
'On The Buses' was one of the TV staples, the whole family were as excited as I was.
Bob and his wife Kim were so very kind to us kids (six of us
in all) and I remember them sending us all a little gift on the first night to wish us luck. The whole period of rehearsals
and performance were simply such good fun. Bob and our fellow cast members made sure that us kids never got bored with the
repetitious routines of performance. I remember one night we were in the Green Room, awaiting our next cue, and one of the
Buses films was playing on the TV in the corner. Bob, on one of his few moments offstage, came down for a quick refresher
and saw what we were watching. With his broadest grin he turned to us and said, "Oh no - not THAT again!" with a
definite twinkle in his eye.
I said, Bob was hardly offstage throughout each performance and this old picture is from the finale. Scrooge's house set
was a two-tier job and at the end, when Scrooge has asked the boy to go and buy the huge turkey, Bob would change upstairs
then leap out of the set down onto the stage apron in front of it - quite physically demanding and luckily he never went as
far as the orchestra pit!
patience with us was infinite. Being Bob, he had a fair few visitors to his Dressing Room and I remember meeting Anna &
Terry, Bernard Bresslaw and also seeing Peggy Mount at our show, amongst others. Bob never minded whenever we 'happened
to be passing' when his fellow professionals were around and always made sure we got some autographs. As well as this
our cast included a handful of people who went on to become famous in their own right: Lesley Joseph (Birds of A Feather)
was one of the Cratchit family, as was Mikki Magorian, who went on to author a huge hit in 'Goodnight Mister Tom'.
The boy who got the turkey at the start of the finale was none other than Richard (Herr Flick) Gibson. Because we were across
the road from the ATV television studios, one night we had a fair few of the cast of 'Crossroads' in our eyeline,
as they took in the show as part of their Christmas bash.
Another happy memory is of Bob and Kim's warmth towards my Gran, who was one of the required Chaperones to us
youngsters. Whenever it was her turn on the rota Bob (who always called her Gran too!) said, "Make sure Gran's looked
after," when she was sitting in the wings. He always ensured she was comfy and had a cuppa close by.
Quite an experience and the memories are (still) amazing.
With thanks to
for this article and photo