Alexander Brothers star denies ‘cashing in’ on act

The Alexander Brothers in action in 2004. Picture: TSPL
The Alexander Brothers in action in 2004. Picture: TSPL
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THE surviving member of celebrated Scots folk music duo the Alexander Brothers has defended his decision to take part in a documentary about their career after being criticised by his sibling’s widow.

Tom Alexander said the BBC programme, due to be broadcast this weekend, was a “fitting tribute” to his brother Jack and people would enjoy the show.

It comes after Jack’s widow, Lil, accused those behind the documentary of only making the film after her husband’s death, to “make money out of it”.

She also claimed the two brothers – at one point Scotland’s biggest variety entertainment stars – had a fraught relationship after their retirement, which was denied yesterday by Mr Alexander.

Together, the brothers achiev­ed international fame and became ambassadors for Scottish folk music. Originally from Cambusnethan near Wishaw, Lanarkshire, they started out as painters and decorators, honing their musical act in their spare time.

As their fame grew, the duo went on to tour the world for more than five decades, playing at Carnegie Hall in New York and Sydney Opera House.

Jack, who sang lead vocals, suffered a massive brain haemorrhage and a stroke last September. He died at a hospice in Ayrshire in November aged 77.

Earlier this week, Lil Alexander, 70, claimed the brothers didn’t speak to each other after they retired in 2012, and said she had no knowledge of the programme until she received a phone call to ask if there was any memorabilia she could provide for the show.

Mrs Alexander, from Prestwick, Ayrshire, said: “Jack’s brother didn’t even phone me to tell me it was being filmed. If he had done that, I would have said, ‘No, I’m sorry, I don’t want anything done until at least eight to ten months from now’.

“The film wouldn’t be getting made at all if it wasn’t for Jack dying. They could have easily made a film last year when he was still alive, but they didn’t.

“Now that he’s gone, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon – no doubt looking to make money.”

But her brother-in-law, 79, yesterday defended the film and said he and Jack had a good relationship. He said: “I have seen a preview and it’s very good. It holds Jack up in a very good light. I have no idea why Lil is saying all this. The programme shows what we achieved and I think people will enjoy watching.

“I never at any time approached the film company at all. It was them that wanted to do the show.”

Mr Alex­ander added: “We spoke all the time – we would speak on our mobiles. I’m not sure if Lil was aware of it. The dir­ector of the programme phoned Lil not to ask for memorabilia like she claims – he just wanted to let her know that it was actually happening. There was nothing underhand.”

A spokesman for BBC Scotland said the programme, The Fabulous Alexander Brothers, which is being shown at 6pm on BBC2 tomorrow, was “an affectionate and fitting tribute”.