I Am Birmingham


You’ve heard of Sutton Park, but here is Sutton’s answer to ‘Parky’. Vimal Korpal interviews me about the launch of the Fred Jeffs Podcast for I Am Birmingham. Enjoy.

Fred Jeffs: The Sweetshop Murder

A ‘true-crime’ mystery set in Birmingham and the Black Country, in the English Midlands. Graeme Rose investigates the real unsolved murder of his great uncle, sweetshop-owner Fred Jeffs, on Good Friday 1957, by talking to people who remember the case. Rose attempts to find answers and understand what really happened on that fateful night. 

Conceived, written, produced and presented by Graeme Rose.

Music Composition & Sound Design by Fox & Rocha (guest musician Martin Cox)

Directed by Steve Johnstone. This seven-part podcast series is supported by Black Country Touring (with support from Arts Council England and funding support from Creative Black Country). Episodes 1-4 produced with support from Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Arts Council England. Episodes 5-7 commissioned by Black Country Touring.

I am thrilled to announce that the full seven-episode remixed and remastered series of Fred Jeffs: The Sweetshop Murder will become available from this week…

The Podcasts are being released via Anchor to the major Podcast platforms, including Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple, Soundcloud, etc.

The release schedule is as follows:

16th October 2020 – Episode 1: Maundy Thursday

23rd October 2020 – Episode 2: The Short Good Friday

30th October 2020 – Episode 3: A Robbery Gone Wrong

6th November 2020 – Episode 4: The Mystery Woman

13th November 2020 – Episode 5: The Witness Who Cannot Talk

20th November 2020 – Episode 6: Sex & Clubs & Rock ‘n Roll

27th November 2020 – Episode 7: Let Him Rest

Graeme Rose



The penultimate episode of ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’ series from Stan’s Cafe, after the touring theatre version that we created and toured in 2013. Daily doses of Robert Burton’s recipe for understanding and treating Melancholy.

Featuring (anti-clockwise from TL) Gerard Bell, Rochi Rampal, Craig Stephens and myself. Directed by James Yarker; produced by Stan’s Cafe.

As this series from Stan’s Cafe draws to its end, here is ‘something for the weekend’, so to speak. From Book II of The Anatomy Of Melancholy (published in several editions from 1621 through until 1651) Robert Burton writes of the benefits of Sports and Exercise.

Episode 25 / 35



Created by Imitating the Dog for BBC Arts’ ‘Culture In Quarantine’ programme, in collaboration with Arts Council England / TheSpace, AIRLOCK is a three-part series of short films with a graphic novel aesthetic – live recorded employing the Vis-tech wizardry so characteristic of the ITD live shows.

Each day throughout July 2020, Stan’s Cafe present a daily dose from Robert Burton’s pioneering self-help manual ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’.

Filmed in 35 episodes over the lockdown period under the direction of James Yarker, the screen is divided into quadrants – with the four cast members of the touring version of the show (Gerard Bell, Rochi Rampal, Graeme Rose and Craig Stephens) voicing from the vantage of the four humours. In the words of Burton, “If any man ask… I perform Melancholy by being busy to avoid Melancholy.

Trailer for Stan’s Cafe’s ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’ (2013)

Creation Theatre’s ‘The Time Machine’ re-opens tonight – on a virtual platform.
Performing twice nightly, Wednesdays – Sundays, 27th May – 21st June 2020
For further information and to book tickets click here

Researched in collaboration with the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, Creation Theatre first premiered Jonathan Holloway’s adaptation of H.G.Wells classic on the 29th February, in The London Library, where H.G.Wells himself was a member. By mid-March, however, it was clear that the social-distancing restrictions around Covid-19 would make public performances impossible. Initially the content of the show – with predictions of global pandemic and started out as alarming and prophetic, and by the time of the lockdown almost too real to be considered dystopian.

The team have adapted the work for the online meeting platform of Zoom, and following the huge success of Creation’s adaptation of The Tempest in April, are now helping to redefine what theatre can offer in these testing times.

Street Party


On the 7th June 1977, in an event commonly seen across the UK, the residents of Naunton Close & Clover Road, (together with the Swarthmore residents who lived ‘down the passage’) gathered for a Street Party to celebrate 25 years since the Queen’s accession to the throne.

I’m posting this because the current residents of Naunton are hosting a VE 75th Anniversary Street Party – under the strained conditions of the Covid-19 lockdown, and I believe it will be the first such gathering  since that Silver Jubilee party, 43 years ago, although my sis’ claims there was a Charles & Diana wedding party in 1981, with DJ too. I was too cool by this time to attend (probably on a Scout Camp).

Adversity brings people together, and I’m thrilled to see a thriving community spirit in the old street. Although I’m now just an occasional visitor, Naunton Close has always been ‘home’. My parents were amongst the first to move in to the street as it was being built. 25th May 1963 was the date mom and dad took possession of the house.

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Their first neighbours included the Greens (left corner of Clover), the Knight family (No.5), Kirkham (No.7), Wood (No.11), Moles (No.15), Margaret and Norman (No.17), Yates (No.32), Hill (No.30), Edwards (No.24), Don Lee (No.22), Roses (No.20), Officers (No.18), John and Val Lee (No.16), Lal & Tom (No.14), Bates (No.12), Phelps (No.8), Ashworths (No.6), Amanns (No.4) and Mrs George & son at No.2., to be later joined by the Moppets (No.9), the Borges family from Venezuela (No.11), Rymills (No.22) and Morrisons (No.18).

As so many of the families settled into their first homes, it was inevitable that by the early and mid-70’s the place was teeming with kids. In my estimation, at it’s chaotic height, there were 48 kids under the age of 16, living as part of the Close, and playing out in the street.

We were always having to retrieve our football from Margaret and Norman’s garden. I hope Margaret forgives us…

I will try to keep adding to this as the collective memory contributes more detail. Meanwhile, hoping the current residents have a smashing get-together to not only mark the passing of what was a terrible time for our forebears, but also to celebrate togetherness in these similarly difficult times.

Today is the 23rd April 2020, and it would have been Fred Jeffs’s 101st Birthday.

Episode 4 of Fred Jeffs: The Sweetshop Murder is now released to coincide with this anniversary.

I started working with the team on this Episode in the summer of 2019, and I am sad to report that in the time since the recordings were originally made, we have lost two family members whose recollections of Fred and the shop inspired so much of my fascination for this story, and fuelled my desire to render it for posterity.

My Aunty Mary Patricia Lord – (née Rose, 1931-2018) who helped to fuel my interest in the family story over the years, and her younger brother, my dad, Michael John Rose, (1937-2020)

The Family portrait for a POW c.1942

The above picture of the two of them with my Nan, Alice, accompanied my grandad, Douglas Rose (Fred’s brother) throughout his war years as a POW. Fred had been captured at Dunkirk, in 1940, and Doug captured in Crete, in 1941. After several years in their respective camps in Poland (Poznan & Bleckammer), the brothers found themselves together in confinement in Stalag VII, (Moosburg) following notorious Death marches endured as the Germans retreated from the advancing Red Army.


Last summer, Alicia Taylor got in touch. She’d been talking to her grandad about his childhood and he revealed an extraordinary story of stumbling across a body whilst birds-nesting with teenage pals. A quick internet-search led her to me and the Fred Jeffs project. Just as with Alan Warr’s story, the impact of that day’s experience have left David Jones with very vivid memories, and a wish to reconcile himself to unanswered questions arising from that day.

David is the last surviving member of that group of boys, which included John Gough, Alan Jeffrey and Cyril Blakemore, who – seemingly less affected by their dreadfulness of their discovery – and, at the slightly older age of 15, was interviewed and photographed at Wasson by reporters from the Smethwick Telephone.

Cyril on Smethwick Telephone 1


Flickr Photos