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Wurzelmania! News Archive 2007

Current News | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999

This is the archive of news items from the Wurzelmania! website for the year 2007.

Drink Up Thy Cider - The Wurzels Are Coming To Tesco! (4th December 2007)

Shoppers at Tesco Extra in Huish, Yeovil, were treated to some West Country fun when The Wurzels’ Tommy Banner and Pete Budd visited the store to promote their special commemorative cider produced for them by Thatchers, “Wurzel Me Cider”, which has just been listed by Tesco.

Wurzel Me Cider is The Wurzels’ first official cider, celebrating the band’s 30 years in show business. Thatchers is producing the cider for them with 5p from every bottle being donated to the BUI Prostrate Cancer Care Appeal, a cause chosen by the band’s accordion and keyboard player, Tommy Banner, following his treatment for cancer last year. The BUI Prostrate Cancer Care Appeal also made a collection at Tesco during the day.

Simon Peck, store manager at Tesco, said, “It was great to welcome Pete and Tommy to our store. They are West Country legends and their sense of fun went down a treat with our customers.”

Jo Wren, Regional Marketing Manager for Local within the West Country commented, “At Tesco we are championing regional produce and this great combination of Thatchers Cider and The Wurzels is fine example of West Country heritage. We have seen sales of cider continue to rise throughout the year, and we’re sure this is a product that our customers will love.”

Thatchers managing director Martin Thatcher said, “The Wurzels are passionate about the West Country and about cider – just like we are at Thatchers. It’s great that they chose us to produce their first official cider. We’re really excited about the product, and hope that customers at Tesco will join us in supporting the Wurzels and their chosen charity.”

“Wurzel Me Cider”, described by Thatchers as a fruity and crisp cider straight from the heart of Somerset, has been produced with freshly pressed apples, many grown in the firm’s own local orchards.

For further information, please contact: Penny Adair, PR Manager Thatchers Cider. Tel: 0117 9040173; Web: thatcherscider.co.uk.

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Tommy Celebrates 40 Years As A Wurzel (5th November 2007)

On 5th November 2007, Tommy Banner will be celebrating forty years since he moved down from Scotland to join Adge Cutler & The Wurzels!

SINGING about combine harvesters and cider drinking for the past 40 years seems to have convinced the front man of legendary Somerset band The Wurzels to stay in the West Country for good...

Read the rest of Laura Thorpe's article '40 years of Wurzelling' on the Somerset County Gazette website.

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A long-lost Wurzels single? (30th October 2007)

A lost Wurzels single has been discovered by a Wurzels memorabilia collector!

The Wurzels Are Scrumptious album was the first album produced by The Wurzels following Adge Cutler's untimely death in 1974. The ‘live’ sequences were recorded in a north Devon holiday camp, the remainder in the EMI Studios. One of the tracks, I'm The Captain Of The Dredger, has recently been discovered on a 45rpm single acetate by a keen Wurzels memorabilia collector.

It is dated May 21 1975, a few weeks before the release of the album from which it was taken. It was lifted straight from the album with just the introduction removed - the playout and applause is identical to the album track.

Handwritten details on the disc label:

  • 21 May 1975
  • EMI studios, Abbey Road, London
  • 45rpm acetate, stereo, 3mins 20sec duration
  • Artist: The Wurzels
  • Title: "I'm The Captain Of The Dredger"

So far as we can tell this acetate is the only existing copy of this single. Why was it abandoned? What was the planned B-side? Why were no singles ever issued from this album? Can anyone out there help?

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Wurzelgate: Shamed Ant and Dec TV show 'duped viewers by allowing fake fan to meet with band' (Daily Mail: 21st October 2007)

The Wurzels were at the centre of a new controversy last night over claims that they interviewed a "fake" guest for Ant and Dec's shamed Saturday Night Takeaway show.

ITV has begun an investigation after allegations that viewers were duped when the Geordie presenters interviewed a stand-in instead of the real guest. Viewers saw Ant and Dec "surprise" a member of the audience for their show's "Jim Didn't Fix It" slot - an updated version of the BBC1 show Jim'll Fix It - in which Ant and Dec made wishes come true for people who had written to the original programme.

The presenters told the audience the man, apparently called George Adams, had always wanted to meet West Country band The Wurzels - and then revealed them on stage and introduced them to "Mr Adams". Yet "George Adams" was actually George Allen, a record producer behind The Wurzels' latest album, Never Mind The Bullocks, 'Ere's The Wurzels. According to The Wurzels' manager, Mr Allen had been drafted in at the last minute with the approval of ITV producers after the real fan had failed to turn up for the show.

The fake guest appeared in the second series of Takeaway, on ITV in February 2003. Wurzels manager Sil Willcox said: "They had a guy who had written to Jim'll Fix It. We did the second rehearsal and the guy hadn't shown up. I thought we were going to get pulled from the show, so I spoke to one of the producers, "Is this going to happen?"

They were like, "Don't know, don't know," and there was lots of panic and people rushing around. So I told the producer, "We've got this guy who will do it." It was our first national TV in ten years and I could see we were going to get pulled. "They were quite happy with that [suggestion], so we brought him up to London. It was the guy who had produced their Christmas single, George Allen. I don't know if Ant and Dec knew or not. We only met them afterwards. But the producers certainly knew it wasn't a real fan."

Mr Allen confirmed that he had appeared as the fake guest. He said: "I'd just been working with The Wurzels and Sil had asked me to do him a favour, so I went on the show. I don't want to say any more than that." An ITV spokesman said: "We are looking into these claims. The producer and the executive producer have since left the company." A spokesman for Ant and Dec said: "They absolutely know nothing about any claims of fakery during The Wurzels' slot."

Full article on the Daily Mail website.

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The Wurzels Hit The Charts (1 October 2007)

The Wurzels are back in the charts with their new single 'One For The Bristol City'.

The Offical UK Charts for the week ending 6th October 2007, sees Bristol City FC & The Wurzels making their debut in the charts at number 66. This is the first time The Wurzels have had two singles in the charts in the same year since 1976!

Fans were obviously hoping for a higher debut - a top 40 would be nice. All concerned are hoping that sales will continue and that the single will continue to climb up the charts and raise yet more money for the BUI Prostate Cancer Care Appeal.

For more information, check the Bristol City FC website.

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Exclusive Wurzels/ City CD Signing (19 September 2007)

Gary Johnson, a selection of Bristol City players and The Wurzels will be holding a special CD signing next week to celebrate the launch of 'One For The Bristol City'.

On Thursday, September 27th - between 4.30pm and 5.30pm - Tommy and Pete from The Wurzels will be joined by Gary and the City players at Virgin Megastore in Broadmead to sign copies of the single.

It is hoped the single, which will see some proceeds going to BUI Prostate Cancer Charity, will sell enough copies to make the official charts. So - if you can't make the signing, why not pre-order it online from Townsend Records, Amazon or HMV.

Southsound - a local online station - have also agree to play the song every night at 9pm for a period of two weeks! You can hear it via southsound.org.uk.

For more information, check the Bristol City FC website.

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The Wurzels Add A Touch Of Fun To Enterprise Inns Sales & Service Centre Training Day (12 September 2007)

Staff at the Solihull headquarters of Enterprise Inns, were given a real surprise when West Country band The Wurzels paid them a visit as part of a training day organised by cider producer Thatchers.

The Somerset cider maker was hosting a product tasting and training day for around 100 sales staff at Enterprise Inns. To help make the day one to remember, Thatchers enlisted the help of The Wurzels, who provided the lunchtime entertainment with over an hour of their typical humorous brand of music.

Cathy Doyle, East Sector Leader, of Enterprise Inns, said, “This was a training day with a real difference. The Wurzels were great fun and our staff really got into the spirit of the occasion!”

Thatchers MD Martin Thatcher said, “We were looking for ways to make our training day at Enterprise stand out – by inviting our great friends The Wurzels along we created a session that the team at Enterprise will remember for a long time. Like Thatchers, The Wurzels have a passion for cider; and just like are ciders, they are real characters.”

This year Thatchers has produced The Wurzels’ first official cider – Wurzel Me Cider – to celebrate the band’s 30 years anniversary. 5p from every bottle is being donated by Thatchers to the BUI Prostrate Cancer Care Appeal, a cause chosen by the band’s accordion and keyboard player, Tommy Banner, following his treatment for cancer last year.

For further information, please contact: Penny Adair, PR Manager, Thatchers Cider, Tel: 0117 9040173 Or Martin Thatcher, MD, Thatchers Cider, Tel: 01934 822862; Web: thatcherscider.co.uk.

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Bristol City and The Wurzels Do Their Bit For Charity (4 September 2007)

To celebrate the club's promotion to the Championship, Bristol City have commissioned The Wurzels to re-record their classic club anthem 'One For The Bristol City'.

A selection of City players heard the first play of the anthem at Ashton Gate today - with the song being belted out in the home dressing room.

A single will be released on September 24th on CD and download via iTunes. The track, produced by Louie Nicastro, will also be available as a ringtone. You can also pre-order a copy by clicking here (£2.99 as opposed to £3.99 on Amazon!). A percentage from all sales proceeds will be handed to the BUI Prostate Cancer Care Appeal.

The club contacted the band following promotion with a view to updating the track, and a club spokesman told bcfc.co.uk: "We are very pleased with the results and after Tuesday's sneak preview of the track, it is intended the team will run out to the new version at all home matches for the rest of 2007/08."

David Lloyd, the club's matchday announcer, said: "I hope our supporters like the re-recorded song. It's also a great chance to get The Wurzels and Bristol City in the charts, and do our bit for the Prostate Cancer!"

For more information, check the Bristol City FC website.

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Last Orders For George The Cider Drinker (August 2007)

One should never believe tales told by 'a man in the pub', but this one is too good to be ignored...

Thursday 9th August 2007 saw the funeral of George Lefevre of Shirehampton. George was the winner of the 1958 (?) South West Cider Drinking Competition where he consumed a massive seventeen and a half pints of scrump on the one hour allotted.

In the audience was one Alan John Cutler, who was so impressed with this feat that he went home and wrote a little ditty about it. A little ditty which he sang as he drove his employer, Mister Bernard Stanley Bilk back from a concert. A little ditty so catchy that it was the first single by Adge Cutler and The Wurzels reaching the UK national Top 40. A little ditty that has become an anthem for the West Country and for cider drinkers across the world. "Drink up thy cider George...".

This is what Alan Bennet, the man in the Parish Pump pub in Worle, told me at the weekend - and it is a great story that I hope it is true. Oh, and Alan informed me that after winning the competition, George celebrated by carrying on drinking into the night with his mates. Proper stuff!

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The Wurzels pull out of Glastonbury (Sunday, 17 June 2007)

The Wurzels have pulled out of 2007 Glastonbury Festival complaining that they deserve a better billing than the headline slot on the Bandstand that they have been offered.

The local cult heroes added that by playing on the Bandstand would mean that they are unable to use their own sound engineers.

"We would have loved to play but we don't feel it's right," said Tommy Banner.

"Other novelty acts like Rolf Harris have been on better stages and we think we deserve it," added Pete Budd.

"Don't get me wrong," said Sil Wilcox, the band's manager. "We know our place. But [that] is not on a Bandstand."

But Glastonbury founder and organiser Michael Eavis OBE argued that The Bandstand, which is where The Wurzels played in 2000 when they made their Glastonbury debut (pictured above), was a central location very close to the famous Cider Bus.

"We've offered them a fantastic slot," he said. "The bandstand is a great place to play. There are millions of people in that area, it's right next to the cider tent and only about 70 yards from the Pyramid Stage."

A Glastonbury spokesman added: "We were surprised that they pulled out. We thought it was a real shame. It's not like they wouldn't be playing to anyone - 7,000 is a good crowd."

But Tommy Banner, the longest serving band member and the only Scottish Wurzel in captivity disagreed: "We were very disappointed to find out that we would be playing on a bandstand ... we don't want to be seen as a sideshow."

When asked about his reservations he said that "the band were also angry that their production team would not be allowed near the stage and that they would have so little time to set up ... we feel it would be unfair to the fans [and] jeopardise our performance."

But festival organiser Emily Eavis explained that at this late stage, there just wasn't the time to move line-ups around.

"Unfortunately at this late stage every other stage is choc-a-bloc and it's a shame as they're a bit of an institution round here but we'll have to get them back next year," she said.

The Wurzels have announced that they would be happy to play at the 2008 festival, but only if they have a higher billing on a better stage.

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The Wurzels On Paul O'Grady Show (Monday 7th May 2007)

The Wurzels appeared on The Paul O'Grady Show on Bank Holiday Monday 7th May 2007, where they took part in the 'Organ Game' (oo-er missus) with the presenters all Wurzeled up with yokel hats. Thanks to Robert Tipping for putting the clips on You Tube, in case you missed it. Be warned, the picture quality is a little dodgy in places 'due to outside interference'

View Part 1 and Part 2 here. Enjoy!

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Jai Howe Forced To Quit Wurzels (May 2007)

Bass player Jai Howe has left The Wurzels due to ill-health. The youngest Wurzels for many a year, Jai has been with the band since 2002 when he replaced Dave Wintour. His recent non-appearance on the Cider Drinker 2007 video had raised some questions amongst fans although there was no official announcement from band's management or official website. Wurzelmania! can reveal that he has been forced to leave the band due to the onset of brain cancer.

His replacement is Sedge Moore (quite possibly a stage name!), about which we have no information whatsoever. Any background would be gratefully received.

[a rather sad postscript to this item was posted on 6 February 2008]

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The Wurzels Reissue Cider Drinker (Monday, April 23, 2007)

The Wurzels have a new version of their hit I Am A Cider Drinker released in March 2007, featuring special guest vocalist Tony Blackburn. The single will be releases on CD and as a limited edition 7" vinyl single. It is also downloadable on iTunes.

The press release reads:

NEW SINGLE OUT TODAY!

Today, 'Scrumpy & Western' yokel legends The Wurzels are releasing a new up-tempo version of 1976 hit 'I Am A Cider Drinker', featuring the one and only Tony Blackburn! The radio legend was the perfect choice to team up with the West Country Fab Four, having introduced the band's performance on TOTP 31 years ago...

The single also has a serious side – last year Wurzels co-frontman and accordionist Tommy Banner was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer after going for a random test. After an operation and radiotherapy, he is now back to fighting fitness, and is keen to highlight the importance of testing. The Wurzels and Tony Blackburn will be giving all the royalties from the single to the BUI Prostate Cancer Care Appeal.

Tony says: "What a thrill it was to be asked to be on a Wurzels record, they are so much fun and I had a great time working with them! I am really glad the money is going to such a great cause as prostate cancer."

You can view the full video on MySpaceTV . more info here...

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Return of the Yokel Heroes (19th April 2007)

The Wurzels have made one of the most surprising comebacks in pop. As they head for this year's Glastonbury festival, they talk to Thomas H Green of the Daily Telegraph.

You can read the full article on the Daily Telegraph website.

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As The Wurzels reach cult status, they turn to Thatchers for their first official cider (Tuesday, March 7, 2007)

The Wurzels have teamed up with renowned Somerset cider makers Thatcher's to release a charity cider. 'Wurzels Me Cider' will be available in shops across the country, and by mail order direct from Thatcher's - and 5p from each sale will go straight to charity - in this case the BUI Prostate Cancer Care Appeal; a charity close to Tommy Banner's heart following his cancer scare last year.

The Thatcher's press release reads:

For The Wurzels, 2007 is going to be one of the best! The iconic West Country band is currently enjoying cult status, borne out with an invitation to appear at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. Furthermore, celebrating 30 years of the launch of the band’s anthem “I am a Cider Drinker”, EMI will be releasing a new, upbeat “celebrity” version of the single on 23rd April with Tony Blackburn. Topping it all, however, the band is going to have its own official Somerset cider, produced by another West Country favourite - Thatchers.

Thatchers Cider is bringing out the first “Wurzels official Somerset cider” – called “Wurzel Me Cider” – to coincide with the band’s thirty years celebrations.

“Wurzel Me Cider”, described by Thatchers as a fruity and crisp cider straight from the heart of Somerset, has been produced with freshly pressed apples, many grown in the firm’s own local orchards. At 4.8%, Wurzel Me Cider will have an RRP of £1.80 with 5p from every bottle sold going to charity.

“We are really excited about producing this cider for The Wurzels,” says managing director Martin Thatcher. “Their manager – who’s a Thatchers fan himself - approached us last year with the idea. We had to say yes - it makes complete sense for these real cider enthusiasts to have a drink from Somerset they can call their own!

“The Wurzels have a true sense of fun, they love life and are out to entertain. They are also passionate about real Somerset cider and have real character – just like our ciders,” says Martin.

Thatchers will be looking to target sales of Wurzel Me Cider to the student market and festival goers, as well as those who remember the “I am a Cider Drinker” the first time round! The Wurzels currently enjoy a strong following amongst university and college students, playing around 200 sell-out gigs every year.

Martin continues, “Not only is cider this year’s “must have drink”, everyone will be talking about The Wurzels!”

“Life can’t get any better,” says the band’s accordion and keyboard player Tommy Banner. “Glastonbury and Thatchers Cider………….what a year!”

For Tommy, the success of the single will have a poignant meaning. Following his treatment for cancer last year, all profits from the single will be donated to the BUI Prostate Cancer Care Appeal. Thatchers will be supporting the cause by giving 5p from every bottle of Wurzel Me Cider to the charity.

For enthusiasts, Thatchers is producing a special Wurzel Me Cider presentation gift box, which will contain a bottle of cider and a one pint etched Thatchers glass.

Press Office Contact:
Penny Adair, Tel: 0117 9040173
Thatchers Cider, Tel: 01934 822862

For more information, check the Thatcher's Cider website, or the new Wurzels Charity website.

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Charity records get Wurz... (The Sun. 6th March 2007)

CIDER-guzzling Scrumpy and Western band THE WURZELS have teamed up with veteran DJ TONY BLACKBURN for what could be the most ridiculous record in history.

The Somerset band have recorded a new, up-tempo version of their 1976 hit I Am A Cider Drinker — and it makes Tony Christie’s 2005 No1 'Is This The Way To Amarillo' sound like a work of musical genius. The video, which you can watch on The Sun's Victoria Newton's Bizarre page, features busty milkmaids, a cow on the drums, a scarecrow playing the sax — and lashings of cider.

Tony Blackburn said: “I thought I was going to be one of about 100 celebrities in the chorus. I went to a studio and recorded my vocal in about ten minutes. Then the record was posted to me and I was the star. I’ve recorded 18 records before and had some minor hits but this is the big one. This could get me back into the recording business."

Tony was the ideal choice to sing with the country bumpkins after introducing the band on Top Of The Pops 31 years ago.

Royalties from the song will go to the BUI Prostate Cancer Care Appeal in Bristol after Wurzels accordionist Tommy Banner beat the disease. Tommy is keen to highlight the importance of cancer checks after his illness was picked up during a random test. After an operation and radiotherapy he is now fighting fit — as you can see from his dancing in the video. Tommy said: “The combined, harvested age of The Wurzels is 258 not out — and unlike Blue we’re still going.”

'Is This The Way To Amarillo' was the best-selling single of 2005, thanks largely to the genius of Peter Kay, and raised loads for Comic Relief. Now I fear Cider Drinker could become another cult classic — especially with students.

see the full article with picture and link to the video here...

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The Wurzels on The Comedy Map of Britain (aired Saturday 3 February 2007, 10.05pm on BBC Two)

The Wurzels have appeared on The Comedy Map of Britain - an animated tour of the UK accompanied by comedy heroes past and present, retracing their steps to the places that inspired their comic talents. The episode around the West Country and into Wales includes Rob Brydon, The Beatles, Fawlty Towers and The Wurzels. Pete and Tommy are shown in a rather emotive interview on the roundabout where Adge Cutler had his fatal car accident (and almost cause another one!)

The full episode is here: The Comedy Map of Britain - Video Uploaded

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