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Fred Dibnah's TV Documentaries

614 of 1160 nominations


Fred Dibnah's TV Documentaries

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Fred Dibnah's TV Documentaries

He may once have said “I’m just a bum who climbs chimneys”, but Fred Dibnah, with his passion for a bygone age and his straight talking, became much more than that in the heart of the nation. Funny, fascinating and deeply personal, his documentaries became a national institution.

Captured on a local news programme in 1979, repairing the town hall clock in Bolton, a BBC producer was inspired to make an hour-long documentary about the Bolton-born steeple-jack. Dibnah never looked back, and went on to star in 20 documentaries that explored his obsession with the legacies of the Industrial Revolution – from Bolton's mill chimneys to the age of steam.

He turned down chemotherapy treatment for cancer in 2004, and chose instead to tour the country on his traction engine for a final 12-part series for BBC2, Fred Dibnah’s Building of Britain, screened in 2005. Awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours list in 2004, Fred Dibnah died on 6 November that year.

Photo: Terry Whalebone


Your comments

The views of a one off English eccentric. We'll never see this perspective on life again

J Stewart Craig

The man got it right, who needs ipods etc...he was the salt of the earth. There should be more people like Fred in this country.
Steve Kirby



I believe rice, peas and jerk chicken is an Icon of England.

Ade Adeluwoye