View Full Version : Fred Dibnah R I P

None of the above
6th Nov 2004, 17:17
Fred Dibnah, steeplejack and all manner of other trades, callings and professions, has sadly departed this mortal vale of tears.

They don't make 'em like that anymore.


6th Nov 2004, 17:41
Very sad news.

The last 2 weeks have seen the passing of two of the finest broadcasters the Beeb had...

R.I.P Fred :{

6th Nov 2004, 18:11
RIP Fred,
You could make most anything you talked about interesting with your natural, no frills, down to earth approach. The reason for this was simple, you gave me the impression that you were intersted in whatever you were talking about. The resultant in my case was an interested viewer. You also gave me the impression that you were from the age of steam and just visiting to remind us that once this country was indeed, Great Britain.


tony draper
6th Nov 2004, 18:16
Ah dammit, thats sad, alus said Fred should have been declared a national treasure.

Nigerian Expat Outlaw
6th Nov 2004, 19:07
The great demolisher. Sad.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
6th Nov 2004, 19:07
Farewell, Fred. Another character gone - where are folk like that these days? I remember him with his steam roller (named after his first wife, and re-named after his divorce!) and 'workmans living van' it towed to Chelford Traction Engine rallies of years ago. And his TV series were always fascinating.


6th Nov 2004, 19:09
Did many a good TV series did Fred. However, I still maintain his best one was his first (Narrated I think by Derek Guyler...another great). It was the one where it was the man himself shinning up and down factory chimneys. Amazing stuff.

6th Nov 2004, 19:20
Aye, the first'un were the best'un. The second were good an' all. The grit and gloom of late 70's/early 80's Britain captured in all it's murky glory.

At a time when our once great industry was being knocked to bollox by the government and sold off, Fred seemed like the chirpy hangman just doing his reluctant job in as dignified and respectful a manner as he could muster considering knocking ten tons of crap out of things is bloody good fun! :D

RIP Fred. Another childhood icon of mine gone for good.

"Whatever happened to all the heroes......." :(


Shaggy Sheep Driver
6th Nov 2004, 19:20
Ah yes. I can picture him now, marching up endless 'lashed together' wooden ladders set off from the side of a massive factory chimney, hands and feet moving rythmically as he went. Whe he got to the top, he'd just follow the overhaning chimney lip out on an angled-out ladder, and step off onto the chimney lip.

Gives me the creeps to even think about it. It's all I can do to climb halfway up one such ladder to inspect our house gutters:eek:


6th Nov 2004, 19:23
On his gravestone(preferably a suitably ornate victorian style edifice) I should like to see inscribed:

Did you like that?

(he always seemed to say that when demonstating something really impressive)

6th Nov 2004, 19:25
He was a champion of the original steeplejack methods. None of that explosive cobblers - our Fred burned the chimneys and ran like fook when the bugga's fell. :}

Do you remember that horn he had - he used to give two honks when it was about to fall didn't he! So heart warmingly quaint and so very English.

"Some dumb bugga phoned Fire Brigade!"


Sir George Cayley
6th Nov 2004, 20:11
In his steeplejacking days someone asked him if he had ever fallen off one of the chimblies?

His reply was typical.

"Nay lad, you only do-it once!"

God Bless Fred RIP. Say hello to Isambard for me.

Sir George Cayley

tony draper
6th Nov 2004, 20:24
Met him many years ago in Wakefield, he saved me clambering up on of those gurt great chimneys to recover a camera.
We have another similar TV character up here called Bill Grundy, he wanders round talking about local architecture in a very down to earth manner none of the arty farty bullshite we usualy get from the architecture luvvies
I think one of the greatest compliments you can pay someone is to call them interesting, Fred was interesting,

Noah Zark.
6th Nov 2004, 20:33
I remember the episode where he told his long-suffering (first) wife that they were actually going on holiday. She was overjoyed.
Off they (and littlies) went to Blackpool. The trouble was that it lashed down with rain, and just by chance Fred had a small chimney to repair.
The sight of him up the ladder, absolutely soaking, enjoying his work, whilst wife, also totally drenched, and definitely not enjoying her "holiday", holding the bottom of the ladder, as their littlies looked on with their depressed faces pressed up against the Land Rover pick-up steamed-up windows was a sight never to be forgotten!
What a character! Thanks for the dry humour, enthusiasm, and hours of interesting viewing, Fred.

6th Nov 2004, 20:46
RIP and God bless Fred Dibnah, a true Englishman.

6th Nov 2004, 21:06
Never met Fred, unfortunately, but have met Bills' son Tim, just as mad/daft/keen.
Being less than sensitive, does anyone know if he finished his latest TV series?

6th Nov 2004, 22:41
I had the privilage of knowing Fred personally, his screen persona was no different from his everyday demeanour.

RIP Fred you daft bugger, like, yer know....

6th Nov 2004, 22:59
Another light goes out:(

6th Nov 2004, 23:20
:( :sad: First John Peel and now Fred Dibnah...what a tragic couple of weeks. RIP

7th Nov 2004, 06:16
From the news link.....He was awarded the MBE in 2003, a year after he demolished his last chimney stack.
They dole out now meaningless, degraded Knighthoods to the Elton John, Cliff Richard and Michael Bishop types of this world.

Sir Fred Dibnah. Now that fits "reet grand" and would have restored meaning to the title.

RIP, Fred. Wish we had more like you. :ok: :{

Lance Murdoch
7th Nov 2004, 09:01
I always enjoyed his TV programmes. His enthusiastic but warm and cheerful down to Earth manner endeared him to many people. Like John Peel, he is one of these people you tend to take for granted until theyve gone and then you realise how much has been lost.

tony draper
7th Nov 2004, 09:10
He should be made the Patron Saint of us shed owners.
Anybody who builds a mine shaft and winding gear in his back garden deserves to be beatified(sp?).

Val d'Isere
7th Nov 2004, 15:34
To quote one of his superb phrases, it now looks like "alf a day ouwt wi th'undertaker" is now unavoidable. :(

Thanks for the laughter, the terror and the fascinating glimpses of your brilliant life, Fred.

"Ey up, God! All tell thi summat, mi fags don't last ser long oop ere!" (as he once said of the effect of high places). :}

7th Nov 2004, 16:37
I remember back in 1987 my dad & I went to watch Fred demolish a chimney at an old mill in Bolton. We only found out a few days later that Fred had just got married to his 2nd wife, and that that Sunday morning task turned out to be their honeymoon!

7th Nov 2004, 19:43
A Great Briton - thnks for the memories, Fred.
Does anyone know if Blaster Bates is still around?

Noah Zark.
7th Nov 2004, 20:32
Blaster is still with us, but has no tour dates arranged at present.

Elwood Senese
8th Nov 2004, 11:47
He was a star. I remember years ago watching park his steam engine outside the local pub while he went in for a pint.

It was on a busy A road and caused chaos. We kids thought it was great.

Also met him signing pictures for donations to charity

Wonder how the Bolton planning authorities feel now?

8th Nov 2004, 13:13
He will be sorely missed as Basil says hope something will be done with his collection.Now that should be worth saving for the nation with Lottery funds and showing kids of today the beauty of raw engineering and one mans passion.God bless Fred.

Nevil Sopwith
8th Nov 2004, 13:46
Let's hope they repeat some of those early progs. I especially liked it when he said " Now, let me give you a de-monsteration"

itchy kitchin
8th Nov 2004, 14:26
One of the "Old Guard".
Very sad news. One of a dying breed- he was truly a link to our industrial past and when things were done with pen, paper, muscle and about 2 million mild steel rivets instead of computers, committees and lasers.

He'll be sadly missed.

Onan the Clumsy
13th Nov 2004, 14:17
Just bumping this one to the top...

tony draper
13th Nov 2004, 14:23
Watching Fred's progs right now, they are being repeated all day back to back on UK Documentry Channel.
Great stuff.

13th Nov 2004, 18:29
Yeah, been watching them. I'm going to miss his enthusiasm and his "dee-monster-ations". Wonder what the flashpoint of his flat 'at was?

R.I.P. Fred.

13th Nov 2004, 18:42
Missin' yer, Fred. Thanks fer all tha' did ter bring back 'owd times forr us.

One in a million. :ok:

15th Nov 2004, 06:42
I too was watching the programmes being repeated on the telly.

Marvellous stuff!

It was very funny seeing him legging it from the collapsing chimmney and gasping at the cemara, "I didn't have time to blow t'bloody horn...."


16th Nov 2004, 10:46
Such a shame, a true character.
RIP Fred.

7th Mar 2005, 21:43
Imagine him doing Scrap Heap Challenge. FD & The Chaos Crew Versus the rest : no chance.

Some: are people of their time others are watchers............it was a privelage to watch and thank you BBC.

Loose rivets
8th Mar 2005, 05:38
he'd just follow the overhaning chimney lip out on an angled-out ladder, and step off onto the chimney lip.

A vast zoom lens drew a tiny point on the horizon up to full screen. There was Fred, plod plod plod up to the overhang of a vast square section chimney. 15 feet out!!! before hooking his leg over the ledge. He said that when the chimney was commissioned, dignitaries were wined and dined up there. Bloody sight braver than me if they did.

Catching his hat on fire with welding splatter was one of the funniest bits...and his new wife trying to make him tog up in new clothes.

And her describing their arrival at the Fred Dibna's appreciation society..."they all had fla'tats and Woodbines"

Definitely on my list of tapes to keep forever.

21st Apr 2005, 20:22
Was in a Sheffield forge earlier in the week where he recorded one of his last. Was broadcast couple of weeks ago and watched the video - can report everyone who met him will not forget him.

Apparently, for those that know the area, he caused 2 traffic accidents on the Penistone Road due to the aggresiveness of his traction steam engine driving!! dem speed cameras aint gonna get me!

RIP - a man who truly supported British Industrial Capability.