At least definitely varied

Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew and below The Beat

Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew and below The Beat

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Celebrated sporting commentators, decorated war heroes, mysterious African guitarists and the very best of amateur dramatics – just some of the highlights of Clitheroe Grand Theatre’s autumn programme.

An October appearance by Falklands war hero Simon Weston provides one of the major attractions of an exciting end to 2013 for the York Street venue.

The Beat

The Beat

Weston was badly burned when HMS Sir Galahad, which was loaded with ammunition and fuel, was bombed at Bluff Cove at the height of the South Atlantic conflict in 1982.

Weston, who was 20 at the time, survived despite suffering burns to nearly half his body.

The Welsh Guardsman has since become a well-known personality, inspiring people with his recovery from those life threatening injuries and charitable work.

An evening not to be missed, Weston will speak at the Grand on October 23.

With Ashes fever sweeping the country, Test Match Special commentator Jonathan Agnew arrives at the Grand for a special one-off show on October 8.

The commentator and former England fast bowler will be padding up to reveal his favourite cricketing tales - and the excitement of reporting on this summer’s Ashes series.

For fans of the Young Ones, Ade Edmondson, who played punk student Vyvyan in the anarchic 1980s BBC sitcom, brings his band, Ade Edmondson and The Bad Shepherds to the Grand in December.

The Bad Shepherds play raucous punk songs on folk instruments, so stand by for some three-chord acoustic thrash on December 7.

A week earlier, Bruce Foxton’s From The Jam make their annual trip north, and they will mark the 35th anniversary of The Jam’s class All Mod Cons LP, playing the album in its entirety, including mega hit Down in the Tubestation at Midnight. For fans of Mod, Ska and Soul, the Maximum Mod Collective (Sep 29) – featuring Who’s Next – one of the finest Who tribute bands in the business – come hot on the heels of last year’s successful Spirit of ’79.

Tickets are also selling fast for the return of Two-tone legends The Beat in October.

Ranking Roger and friends remain as popular as ever and will be serving up much loved classics, from Mirror in the Bathroom to Hands Off She’s Mine.

Two of the of the fastest rising stars of the jazz scene – Go Go Penguin and Roller Trio – appear at the theatre a few days later before The Northern Jazz Orchestra stage a nostalgic evening, featuring The Sounds of the Famous Big 5 Bands from the 1940s to the 1970s.

There’s a real coup for the Grand with the appearance of brilliant Malian guitarist Omara, ‘Bombino’ Moctar, on October 30.

Bombino’s electrifying jams capture the sound of rebellion, with his guitar riffs reminiscent of fellow Africans Ali Farka Toure, not to mention rock and blues icons Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Page.

All the way from the Isle of Skye, The Peatbog Faeries return to the Grand by popular demand on November 1.

One of Scotland’s best known names in contemporary folk music, they have taken their own foot-stomping brand of ‘bagpipe rave’ to audiences around the world.

For Am-Dram enthusiasts, Clitheroe-based Ribcaged Productions are back with their latest production, Alice in Wonderland.

Alice follows in the footsteps of Ribcaged Productions Oliver Twist and Wind in the Willows in collaboration with the theatre. Alice in Wonderland (November 16 and 19)

Just announced and selling fast..……The South, featuring ex-members of the Beautiful South, have confirmed a show at the Grand on December 13.

The Grand’s new Autumn brochure is available from the theatre or see www.thegrandvenue.co.uk. Box office 01200 421599.