David Parkin on a stage debut with a difference

ROYALTY, Prime Ministers, celebrities and sports stars have all been the “victims” of award-winning cartoonist Graeme Bandeira.

During a 23-year career at the Yorkshire Post, his cartoons made readers laugh and cry and his images held those in power to account.

There’s also a big, likeable personality behind the pens, pencils and crayons and he has a wealth of brilliant stories from a career creating memorable images.

That’s why he’ll be taking to the historic stage at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds on June 29th for a one-off show called Carry On Cartooning!

Inspired by some of the famous entertainers who have appeared on its stage over the last 155 years, “Bandy” has produced the cartoon above to celebrate the show featuring Charlie Chaplin, Ken Dodd and Barbara Windsor.

It’s certainly the first time he has included himself in one of his ‘toons’ – and even his dog Coco makes an appearance too.

I’ll be the person fortunate enough to be joining Graeme on stage at the City Varieties to host an evening of chat, fun, great stories and he’ll also be joined by a selection of his celebrity friends who’ll be in the audience.

For the first time Graeme tells the stories behind the pictures – from meeting the Prime Ministers and personalities he has lampooned to his poignant images charting the pandemic which featured on national TV and brought him many celebrity fans including Jeremy Vine, Steph McGovern, Beverley Knight, Julia Bradbury, Chris Mason – recently named the BBC’s political editor.

It was a cartoon by Graeme which was presented live on TV by charity fundraising hero Captain Sir Tom Moore on his 100th birthday.

Graeme has a penchant for political cartoons but unlike some cartoonists, he manages to hold those in power to account by highlighting their weaknesses without cruelty, which I think is an incredible skill.

And you don’t just need to take my word for it, in 2020 he won the award for Britain’s Best Political Cartoon and was runner-up again last year.

Given he was up against the greatest and most celebrated cartoonists in the land, that is some achievement.

He’s met and bantered with many of his high profile “victims” including Prime Ministers Boris Johnson, Theresa May and David Cameron as well as former Archbishop of York John Sentamu and England football manager Gareth Southgate.

Graeme left the Yorkshire Post earlier this year and has now launched a freelance career producing bespoke cartoons, caricatures and pet portraits.

You can view some of his work and commission bespoke artwork on his website


I’ve got one of his amazing pictures of my old dog Basil on my wall and he has an uncanny ability to capture the personality of a pet in a way that just makes you smile every time you look at the picture.

Carry On Cartooning!: An Audience With Graeme Bandeira is at the City Varieties in Leeds on Wednesday June 29th at 7.30pm with tickets priced at £22 each.

To book tickets click here

I hope to see you there!


INTERESTING that it takes the threat of privatisation for Channel 4 to table a plan to become a Northern-based broadcaster.

I was under the impression that it was already supposed to have done that with the opening of a base in the Majestic building in the centre of Leeds and lots of noise about supporting Northern-based programme-makers and talent.

The reality was that most of the significant executives at the publicly-owned TV broadcaster remained in London despite the opening of the Leeds office and the execs that are based there have actually been recruited into newly created roles.

It was announced last month that the Government had elected to go ahead with a sale of Channel 4.

That has prompted Channel 4 to outline its alternative to privatisation which includes becoming a Northern-based broadcaster, with the majority of its workforce based outside of London and expanding its digital content production studio in Leeds.

Channel 4’s original target for the creation of 300 roles outside of London by 2023, which has already been exceeded, would be doubled to 600 roles by 2025.

The broadcaster aims to leverage significant new private capital to bring £1bn of investment in British content by 2030.

It also said that an increase in commissioning spend of about £300m would unlock 3,000 creative sector jobs, focused in the Nations and Regions.

It would also offer a route into the creative industries for 100,000 young people through the expansion of the 4Skills programme.

I don’t think privatisation will deliver the same benefits to the North of England but you do have to wonder why it takes the threat of being sold off to get Channel 4 to think creatively and entrepreneurially and commit to deliver what it already should have done in the North.


YOUR first boss always leaves a big impression on you.

When I started work as a junior reporter on a salary of eight grand a year at the Derby Evening Telegraph I was so far down the pecking order that it seemed everybody was my boss.

But the one who I ultimately answered to was not so much the editor, but the news editor – the person responsible for filling the pages of the paper everyday and managing the team of reporters.

That person was a man called Kevin Booth.

I learned this week that Kevin has died after a short illness aged just 64.

“Boothy”, who hailed from Stoke-on-Trent and was an avid fan of Stoke City, went on to edit newspapers in York, Leicester, Peterborough and Burton

He didn’t suffer fools and had a quick wit and dry sense of humour.

He played for the Derby Evening Telegraph football team and when one of his team-mates suggested that one of their fellow players, a left-footed winger with black wavy hair, was similar to Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, Boothy retorted: “Ryan Giggs? He plays more like Ryan’s Daughter.”

When Southend played Derby County in a match in 1994 the Rams’ goalkeeper Martin Taylor suffered a double leg fracture in a clash with opposition striker Dave Regis who had previously played for Stoke City.

Boothy decided to photocopy a photo of the stricken Taylor and captioned it: “Sorted by a Stokie” and then sent it in the internal office mail to Gerald Mortimer, the Derby Evening Telegraph’s football writer, an aloof, pompous former public school master who treated the rest of us in the newsroom with disdain.

You could hear the steam exploding from Gerald’s ears when he opened the envelope containing the picture.

When I left the DET to move from my hometown paper to a role as a senior reporter with the South Wales Echo in Cardiff – mainly for the pay rise – I received the traditional leaving present of a spoof front page of the newspaper as well as a football signed by the entire Derby County team.

Given that was the year – 1996 – that the Rams were promoted to the then First Division, I thought it would be pretty valuable with the autographs of Jim Smith’s star players including Igor Stimac, Chris Powell, Lee Carsley, Marco Gabbiadini and Dean Sturridge.

As I received the football in front of my colleagues in the newsroom I spun it in my hands, marvelling at all those signatures and then spotted, in the middle of them in thick, dark ink was the name “Boothy”.

Ironically, when I looked at the football the other day, the only name that hasn’t faded and can still be clearly read is Boothy’s.

The memories of that man who was my boss haven’t faded either.


I HATE the way social media is changing the way we speak, write and generally communicate.

I’ve railed before against this new trend to “be excited for”.

You know, like being “excited for the weekend”

It used to be “excited about the weekend”.

If you ask me, being “excited for” makes you sound slightly childlike.

A bit like being “super proud” about something.

When did it become unacceptable to just be very proud about something, sorry, for something.

Have you noticed the latest language quirk which I’ve principally spotted on Linkedin?

When someone has a new job role they post: “I am happy to share that…”.

I’m sure it is wording suggested by Linkedin but I’ve noticed people using it elsewhere.

So in the spirit of this new parlance I am happy to share that I think this week’s Met Gala in New York was the biggest pile of cringeworthy tosh I have seen in a while.

The big bash in the Big Apple always makes headlines but it seems that to be a man in a skirt is no longer enough.

I’ve only ever seen photographs of the celebrity guests on the steps of the venue in a variety of elaborate outfits that appear to be both flimsy and gravity defying.

Presuming that inside, like at most balls, they are served canapes and a three course meal, I’m concerned how they can access the vol-au-vents and chicken breast, never mind the crème brûlée.

It says everything about our social media driven times that one of the biggest talking points from the Met Gala was Kim Kardashian wearing the crystal-encrusted dress worn by Marilyn Monroe to sing Happy Birthday to President John F Kennedy in 1962.

Last worn six decades ago by one of the most charismatic, beautiful and alluring actresses that has ever lived, the frock was donned this week by someone with no discernible talent whatsoever.

If you ask me, I would have much preferred an invitation to another glossy event in New York a few days before at the spectacular Cipriani.

Raising money for the work of the charity the Prince’s Trust, the gala chairs were pop legend Lionel Richie and Vogue editor Edward Enninful.

The event highlighted the amazing work of the charity which supports young people and helps them start their own businesses.

The New York gala dinner last week included two guests who perhaps represent the greatest success story from the work of the Prince’s Trust.

James Sommerville and Simon Needham were given a £2,000 grant by the charity and launched a design business called ATTIK which they eventually sold to the world’s biggest advertising agency.

Not bad for two lads from Huddersfield.

Simon is now a celebrated photographer based in Los Angeles, while James, who lives in New York, went on to become the global design director for Coca-Cola and Ford.

Now that’s worth celebrating.

I’m excited for their achievement.

Have a great weekend.

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