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About Frank Sidebottom

At age 35, Frank Sidebottom shot to stardom in the most unlikely of circumstances: broadcasting from his garden shed. In between shopping trips in Timperley for his mum, he and his puppet Little Frank captured the imagination of the nation with his ‘Frank’s Fantastic Shed Show’ TV series and an ongoing presence in weekly music paper, the NME.

 

Frank made regular appearances on North West television and national Saturday morning kids’ TV throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. Frank broadcast ‘Radio Timperley’ on Manchester’s Piccadilly Radio and ‘Frank’s World’ on BBC Radio, and he published his own comic strip in the children’s weekly comic Oink!

 

As he toured the country, Frank thrilled audiences with his covers of Queen, Kylie Minogue and Beatles songs and his absurdist- yet-family-friendly brand of showbiz, punctuated by a raffle to win some cardboard.

 

Frank’s body of work spans all artistic media, and he is widely recognized as the greatest semi-professional entertainer and turtle owner the village of Timperley has ever known.

An interview with Frank Sidebottom in "The Great Pretender" - page 1
An interview with Frank Sidebottom in "The Great Pretender" - page 2

Click the images to read an interview with Frank Sidebottom

Timperley Bigshorts F.C. title

Timperley Bigshorts FC, Football Association-Affiliated club.

Established 1990, disbanded 2014.
"On Sunday 9th Septeber 1990 history was made... as at 11 a.m. the 1st full match-propper kicked off for my very own ace footbal team..... Timperley Bigshorts F.C. (in fact the photo on the back page of Com 13 was taken about 5 minutes before, on pitch five, Fog Lane Park, Didsbury in Manchester. We played I.C.L. in division 3 of the "Manchester Publicity Sunday League" andthe final result was a 1-1 draw. I won't go into all of the details of the season so-far.... or print a league table as it would soon be out of date. But as we move into 1991 I can say we have only lost 2 league matches and are still in all 3 knock-out cups. But.... the only problem I came up against was our home ground (pictured) which the Manchester Sunday F.A. said "did not meet the standard requirements" even though I offered to open the shed door for cornerkicks. So as a result we have had to play all our home games away, but I hope to find us a pitch in Timperley soon. P.S. Umbro are our sponsors... ace hey?"
Frank Sidebottom, Litte Frank and Wilma the dog at thir "home ground" for Timperley Bigshorts

Big Frank, Little Frank and Wilma the dog at the Bigshorts' home ground, Timperley, 1990

Frank Sidebottom illustrated Timpeley Bigshorts F.C. badge

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Frank Sidebottom's Fantastic Club Rules: "1. All kit must be handed in at the end of match. 2. No taking the shorts on holiday (withot permission). 3. From the moment you leave the changing room to start the match, until you go back in after the match - there is to be no swearin (unless 'bobbins'). There will be a swear box in operation with 10p per swearword fine. (...Remember - swearing is not clever.) 4. For home games... you are to be at South Trafford Ground at least 20 minutes before 11 a.m. (fines will be used!?) 5. No rolling the shorts up (50p fine). 6. Subs will be £2 per game if you start the match... and £1 if you are substitute. 7. Subs will be 1/2 if the team win by more than 5 goals - or no subs if double figures reached (by us). 8. Do not argue with the referee... unless about my latest record if he sais it's 'bobbins'."

The death of a real-life cartoon character.

Whether it was a strange case of split-personality/schizophrenia or simply an exercise in method-acting taken to its ultimate conclusion, Chris Sievey did such a masterful and thorough job of being Frank Sidebottom, that they were viewed as two completely separate people.

Frank was a ‘larger than life’ character and so by logical extension, he was also ‘larger than death’.


Yet sadly, when Chris Sievey was diagnosed with cancer, Sidebottom got sick too.

 

Being a part of Frank’s world, you became immersed in an intoxicating, blurred mix of fantasy and reality. How could someone who remained forever aged 35, who had never suffered anything more than an ear infection or a head cold, fall foul of such a serious disease?

When Chris Sievey died on June 21st, 2010, it seemed rather unfairly, that Frank Sidebottom was taken away from us too.

—D.A., 21:08:19

Frank Sidebottom self-portrait after cancer diagnosis

Me as ‘Me after chemotherapy’