Comedian’s praise for book

John Gradwell
John Gradwell
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A TOP local comedian has praised a Tyldesley writer’s comic first novel.

Funnybone, the memoir of elderly former Northern music hall star Frankie Funnybone, is published on Amazon and is now out in paperback. The book was described by writer, comedian and Phoenix Nights star Dave Spikey as “quirky, funny and enlightening”.

Written by radio dramatist John Gradwell, the spoof autobiography details Frankie’s exploits with a host of famous names from the last century. These include mistaking Wallis Simpson for comedian Jimmy Jewell, saving Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain from murderous Nazis and getting married at Balmoral with King Edward VIII as his best man. The book also includes a riotous 1935 appearance by Frankie at Bolton’s Grand Theatre.

John, a former sub editor on our sister papers in Wigan, explained: “Frankie was originally a minor character in a BBC Radio 4 sitcom I wrote. Frankie, now 96, was played by writer and actor Peter Serafinowicz who was a largely unknown 23-year-old at the time. The cast also included The League of Gentlemen’s Mark Gatiss and Dave Lamb, who does the cult comic voice-over on Come Dine With Me.”

John’s current project, a biography of Bolton Wanderers legend Roy Hartle, will be published soon.

“I’m really pleased Dave Spikey liked my book,” added John. “When it comes to Northern comedy, I reckon Dave’s up there with the very best.”

Funnybone is available in paperback or as an e-book on Kindle and Kobo. Visit for more details.