Tag Archives: Clare Grogan

1982 ➤ How Spandau put Capaldi on the road to play the new Doctor Who

Peter Capaldi, Doctor Who, Spandau Ballet, stand-up comedy

Capaldi the stand-up in 1982: onstage supporting Spandau Ballet at Bournemouth, days after Bill Forsyth saw the Glasgow show. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

❚ WHAT’S THE CULTIEST ROLE in all of television, the one that’s just been given to the cultiest madman in all of TV comedy? Yes the new Doctor Who is announced as Peter Capaldi, aka Malcolm Tucker, foul-mouthed spin-doctor from the multi-award-winning political satire, The Thick of It. The part won him the 2010 BAFTA Award for Best Performance in a Comedy Role.

The 55-year-old Scot will be the 12th actor to play the Doctor, a new hero for a new generation. It is not the first time Capaldi has appeared on the show – he played a Roman merchant in the 2008 Doctor Who adventure The Fires of Pompeii.

But few people seem to know how he got his big acting break in Bill Forsyth’s 1983 movie Local Hero. As a student at the Glasgow School of Art, Capaldi had been the vocalist in a post-punk band called The Dreamboys. He also took to stand-up comedy and was invited to support Spandau Ballet on their first UK tour in 1982. The famously anti-rock clubland band did not want the usual rock support act and decided a comedian would add piquancy to the uniqueness of their own approach to new music.

Spandau songwriter Gary Kemp is reluctant to take any credit as talent scout, but it just so happened that he spent quite some time in Scotland that year romantically smitten by Clare Grogan, the cute 20-year-old singer in the Glasgow pop group Altered Images.


➢ Doctor Who explained in 25 GIFs at Mashable – “Let’s assume you have no idea what TARDIS stands for”

Kemp, himself then 22, recalls vaguely how Capaldi came to his attention at the age of 23: “It was through Gerry McElhone who managed Altered Images. Maybe he played me a tape, or something.” Clearly he had other more important things on his mind at the time. Gig archives tell us that in May 1981 The Dreamboys played on the same bill as Altered Images at Edinburgh’s Nite Club, and in September Capaldi gave his stand-up routine, so there’s every chance Kemp met him at the bar.

The point was Grogan had starred in Forsyth’s 1981 cinema smash, Gregory’s Girl, and Spandau’s Diamond tour launched in March 1982 with three dates in Scotland and Capaldi live onstage as the warm-up.

Spandau’s brief tour ended at the Winter Gardens Bournemouth [my pix are previously unpublished] but a year later, when Local Hero was released, Capaldi told me that he got the part only because Bill Forsyth had seen him at the Spandau show in Glasgow. The rest is history: a brilliantly versatile career as an actor of comedy and drama has included a cameo dad in the 2007 series of Skins, and the repressed head of news in last year’s electric BBC series, The Hour.

Peter Capaldi, Doctor Who, Spandau Ballet, stand-up comedy

Capaldi relaxing offstage in Bournemouth 1982. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

Steven Moffat, executive producer of Doctor Who, described casting Capaldi as an incendiary combination: “One of the most talented actors of his generation is about to play the best part on television.”

Capaldi said yesterday: “Being asked to play the Doctor is an amazing privilege. Like the Doctor himself I find myself in a state of utter terror and delight. I can’t wait to get started.” Filming begins in the autumn.

The Thick of It writer Armando Ianucci tweeted: “There can’t be a funnier, wiser, more exciting Time Lord than Peter Capaldi. The universe is in great hands.”

➢ Peter Capaldi revealed as 12th Doctor – BBC News


video, regeneration,Doctor Who, William Hartnell , Peter Capaldi

1966: The first Doctor William Hartnell becomes the second, Patrick Troughton © BBC

➢ All 13 of the Doctor’s regeneration scenes on video at Wired

➢ Update 2020: Peter Capaldi has been voted third in a TV viewer’s poll of favourite Doctor Who actors … David Tennant topped the poll organised by the programme guide, RadioTimes, with the current Doctor Jodie Whittaker (the first female to play the Time Lord) in second place. Since its launch in 1963, 13 actors have played the intergalactic traveller.



Peter Capaldi

Capaldi as Dreamboys vocalist

❏ PETER CAPALDI DELIVERS Bela Lugosi’s Birthday, the A-side song from the 7-inch single by Scottish rockers, The Dreamboys, on the St Vitus label about 1980 – before Craig Ferguson joined as drummer. YouTuber Ashley Harrison writes: “A little post-punk, goth and power pop, it is reminiscent at times of Bauhaus, Joy Division, Wire, The Fall, The Damned.” Scotland had a fierce underground music scene in the early 80s and I’ve often said a weekend in Glasgow felt as if you were in the trendiest city in the UK, and at least on a par with London.

Peter Capaldi

Capaldi in 1983: introducing Sade’s TV debut on Loose Talk

➢ View video of Capaldi introducing Sade’s TV debut


➤ The day Gary Kemp reduced hard-nosed Guardianistas to tears

◼ AS WITH ANY ARTICLE AT THE GRAUNIAD about New Romantic cheerleaders Spandau Ballet, the resulting comments published online are always riotously entertaining. This is the one band that really winds up Guardianistas to a pitch of fury. When the 80s band announced their reunion tour in 2009, Michael Hann declared how much he’s always loathed them in a Graudina music blog which then provoked 342 comments — 342! — most of them apoplectic. How many other bands can claim such a following?

books, Lyrics of Gary Kemp,Lyric Book Company,

As it happens the Spandau songwriter has recently published an 88-page coffee-table book, titled The Lyrics of Gary Kemp from Lyric Book Company

Today for no apparent reason, the Guranaid runs an item about how Gary Kemp and Steve Norman made Spandau’s 1983 No1 hit True, in which lyricist Kemp admits: “I’m still berated for the line Take your seaside arms, but it’s straight out of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.”

Readers of Shapersofthe80s already know that the song was inspired by Kemp’s unrequited pash for poppette Clare Grogan — he was 22, she was 18 — who fronted an 80s band of Scottish cuties called Altered Images. On the same page, Steve Norman deconstructs his self-taught sax solo which has a key change in reply to Grover Washington’s Just The Two of Us.

All of which strangely prompts tearful blubbing at the Graun, rather than the usual explosion of acerbic outrage. Specimen comments follow after this gratuitous excuse to run a video…


➢ Meanwhile back to today’s Grauniad Online:
❏ Nietzsche39 (who else?) notes: “You don’t bastardise Nabokov. Seaside arms is absurd. Seaside limbs is genius.”

❏ Nepthsolem moans: “It always sounds to me like See side arms, as though referring to the service revolver I imagine was issued to all New Romantics, but sadly never used on TOTP.”

❏ DeeSawdeley says: “I always thought it was seaside aunt, which (for those of us with a seaside aunt, anyway) makes much more sense. Bet he wishes he’d written that now!”

❏ Stolencar comments: “Note also he says she gave him a copy of Lolita not that she had read it.”

❏ To which Vastariner responds: “There’s a picture of her reading it on the front of the Best Of Altered Images compilation released in 1991. Some might call me obsessed for knowing that, or because I have a username taken from one of her lyrics… etc etc.”

❏ From another planet, Golgafrinchan sobs: “I had unrequited love for Clare Grogan, still do to be fair. If you’re reading this Clare, get in touch, there’s still time.”

❏ DameHedwig adds: “I’ve often told my son that if things had worked out for me, Ms Grogan would be his Mum.”

❏ And Mccaugh: “As for the sublime Miss Grogan, well, just how many times did we go and see Gregory’s Girl? Helped, of course, by the fact that it ran at the Dominion Cinema in Edinburgh for three years non-stop.”

❏ Finally Bloodydoorsoff tells a despicable and blatant untruth about darling Clare, so you’ll just have to go to Grunadia Online to see it. And plenty more.

John Gordon Sinclair, Scott Neil), Clare Grogan, Glasgow Film Festival ,Gregory’s Girl

Glasgow Film Festival 2010: Darling Clare seen with Gregory’s Girl sidekick John Gordon Sinclair. In 1994 — sorry, lads — she married bandmate Stephen Lironi in Glasgow and today the couple live in Haringey, London, with their adopted daughter. (Photography by © Scott Neil)