It’s a Grand year ahead...

The Beat's Ranking Roger

The Beat's Ranking Roger

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Clitheroe’s Grand Theatre is establishing a reputation as one of Lancashire’s favourite venues and, as TONY DEWHURST reports, this year’s line-up so far will only serve to enhance it.

The Specials aside, perhaps no band encapsulated the sound of the Two Tone movement more than The Beat.

Gary Bell QC (Photo: John Lawrence)

Gary Bell QC (Photo: John Lawrence)

From their beautiful cover of Smokey Robinson’s Tears of a Clown to the foot-tapping Hands off, She’s Mine, the hits kept coming for Ranking Roger and his band who return to Clitheroe’s Grand Theatre in March, their first visit since 2013, and one of the highlights of the Spring season at the York Street venue.

Keith Gillespie was dubbed the new George Best when he broke into Manchester United’s first team as a teenager.But his autobiography, ‘How Not to be a Football Millionaire’ reveals how the former Blackburn Rovers winger saw his gambling spiral out of control, losing an astonishing £7 million. Now Keith is attempting to rebuild his life, and you can hear his incredible story at the Grand Theatre (January 22).

One of rock’s biggest names in the 1970s, Nazareth, are also in town in January, four years after their last visit.

Original singer Dan McCafferty has retired from touring action and vocalist Carl Sentance now fronts the legendary band, but they will raise the roof with their timeless hits, My White Bicycle and Hair of the Dog.

Cult rock band FM are lined up for their Grand debut three days earlier. FM toured with Bon Jovi, Tina Turner and Whitesnake in the eighties, and in 2007 they were persuaded to reform for a one-off show and they are still rocking today.

James Taylor, one of the great British instrumentalists of his generation, has made the trademark Hammond organ sound his own, and famed for his upbeat, energetic jazz funk shows, Taylor remains at the top of his game and returns in February with the JT Quartet and a very special guest.

The Grand is becoming renowned for attracting a host of prominent speakers and already there’s a fascinating host of guests lined up.

Tim Hetherington, who went to school at Lancashire’s Stonyhurst College, was one of the brightest photojournalists of his generation. But in 2011, shortly after attending the Oscars with the co-director of his award-winning film Restrepo, Tim was killed while working on a story in Libya.Former BBC war reporter Martin Bell hosts this special tribute evening to Tim’s work and discusses his legacy on March 9.

Gary Bell QC is one of Britain’s finest barristers, with his own BBC show The Legalizer, a Who’s Who entry and a wife whose family is listed in Burke’s Landed Gentry.But behind the horsehair wig and the silk gown is a truly extraordinary story of a man whose life reads like a strange dream.

Bell grew up in a Nottingham slum, and spent his teenage years as a notorious football hooligan.

Now, this once unemployed drifter, is one of Britain’s top defence lawyers.Hear his amazing story when he appears at the theatre on March 2.

Blues singer Chantel McGregor is a massive favourite at the Grand, and Chantel isback at the Grand with her new show the following week.

Scottish five piece Breabach (March 31) deliver a thrilling brand of contemporary folk music that has earned them international recognition on the world and roots music scene.

For ticket details telephone the Grand box office on 01200 421599 or online www.thegrandvenue.co.uk