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celebrity fan club, features

Celebrity Fan Club; #10 Portland Bill and friends

There are a number of things in life that in retrospect I wish I hadn’t really started; the Reef downing challenge on my Sunday football club’s Christmas night out circa 2007… a discussion about the merits of religion in an agnostic age with a couple of elderly Jehovah’s Witnesses who once came knocking on my door, and taking a trumpet to Rovers matches (yes, that really was me). Thankfully though, as we hurl ourselves forcefully at episode ten, this feature on Celebrity Rovers fans is not yet in that bracket. Not yet. Enough paragraph padding though, its fan numero, er, ten; cartoon lighthouse dweller Portland Bill.

All together now; “Oh come with me to the rolling sea while the weather’s calm and light; we’ll have some fun and laughter because Rotherham are f***ing sh**e”. Had you ever sailed past Guillemot Rock on a day when they weren’t filming you would probably have heard that less child-friendly rendition of the Portland Bill theme song being belted out by the lighthouse crew, because they were all to a man, die-hard Rovers fanatics.

They all loved the Rovers, hence the red and white bobble hat sported by Ross, the youngest member of the lighthouse crew. More pertinent to their Rovers support was the lighthouse itself which the crew had painstakingly painted in red and white hoops so all and sundry, from the residents of McGuillycuddy, to the crew of passing ships could take note of their Rovers support.

Portland Bill's Rovers Themed Lightouse

They had good reason to cheer the Rovers as well back in the early 1980s as the lighthouse crew’s rise to fame coincided with Doncaster Rovers 1983-84 promotion from second place in the Fourth Division, indeed lighthouse crew member Cromarty based his hairstyle on Rovers top scorer Colin Douglas. The crew’s fanatical support was most evident in the episode titled The Day of the Big Match in which the crew desperately try to get their television working in order to pick up Yorkshire Television’s Goals on Sunday.

Ross listens closely for sounds of John Helm

Ross listens closely for John Helm's voice

Such was the role played by The Adventures of Portland Bill in publicising Doncaster Rovers to the world that the club sought to honour the show in the mid 1980s by renaming part of the ground after the show’s narrator. And so in tribute to Norman Rossington the away section of Belle Vue became The Rossington End.

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