Derby Dead Pool

The online competition to guess which famous people won't make it to the end of the current year. If they're elderly, ill, or just live a high-risk lifestyle, stick 'em in your team, and for each one whose death you correctly predict, you'll score points. DDP was dreamt up in Derby, England (hence the name...) by Big Iain back in 1996, then was run from 2003 to 2007 by Siegfried Baboon and Rude Kid From 2008 to 2009, it was run by Octopus of Odstock , and from 2010 to 2017 by The Man In Black. From 2018, Spade Cooley is host...

Latest Stiffs: 30th March 2018 by Spade Cooley

[Picture of Katie Boyle]

Katie gets cinque points from the DDP jury...

boyle over

Caterina Irene Elena Maria Imperiali dei Principi di Francavilla, who perhaps wisely chose Katie Boyle as a stage name, has died aged 91. The daughter of an Italian fascist nobleman, she came to the UK in 1946 to start a modelling career. Instead, she found fame on television: in the live-action version of “The Goon Show”, on “Jukebox Jury” and, most notably, as four-time host of the “Eurovision Song Contest”, where her cut-glass accent and aristocratic manner epitomised Englishness to a foreign audience. She also allegedly eschewed wearing underwear during the 1974 edition as Abba swept to victory, and is one of the numerous people Prince Philip was alleged to have enjoyed the company of while Her Made was off on official business. Those are rumours. What is true is that she has now died aged 91 and three teams can wave their plastic EU flags.

And in perhaps the most devastating week for Eurovision fans since Silvía Night didn’t qualify for the 2006 finals, a second icon of the camp extravaganza has left us. Lys Assia won the contest’s first edition in 1956, representing Switzerland with the chanson track “Refrain”. The 1956 finals was the only Eurovision to allow countries to enter a pair of songs – Assia sang Switzerland’s other entry, “Das alte Karussell”, as well. She went on to represent Switzerland a further two times in the finals and was still attempting to qualify for the contest as late as 2012, when her hip-hop track “All In Your Head” failed to gain the nomination of the Swiss public. She died aged 94 and was a hit for two teams.

Peter G Peterson served as the Secretary of Commerce for one year during the Nixon administration. A long-time critic of the US’s debt obligation, he drifted away from the Republicans in his later years because of what he saw as their shift from financial conservatism to a more faith-based one. A billionaire himself, he was a co-founder and long-time chairman of the world’s largest alternative investment firm, Blackstone Group. He also married the co-creator of “Sesame Street”. No, not Jim Henson. He was 91 when he died and a unique hit for Gris Gris.

Irish character actresses are a staple DDP pick, so it’s not surprise that we must wave farewell to Carmel McSharry. First appearing on our TVs as Nancy in the 1960s “Oliver Twist” mini-series, she’s perhaps best remembered as the gossiping Mrs Holingbery in “In Sickness and in Health”, who took over as a main protagonist in the show after Dandy Nichols carked it in 1986. She dies aged 91 and three teams are bloody richer that’s a fact.

wilhelm screams

Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inductee Kate Wilhelm has died after a short illness. She first began writing in the mid-1950s when sci-fi was the domain of male writers alone, and soon became noted for her focus on characterisation amid futuristic landscapes rather than sci-fi for sci-fi’s sake. Her most notable work, the new wave of sci-fi classic “Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang”, won the Hugo award for best novel in 1977. She was 89 and a unique hit for Bibliogryphon's Bookworm Food.

Nicholas Edwards, who has died aged 84, served as the Secretary of State for Wales in the first two Thatcher governments. After retiring from parliamentary politics, he became the first chairman of the National Rivers Authority and entered the House of Lords as Baron Crickhowell. His death, which brought points in for three teams, means there are now only 10 members of Thatcher’s first cabinet still with us. Somehow, Lord Carrington is one of them.

Larry Kwong may have only played one minute of NHL action, but it was an important one. The son of Cantonese immigrants who settled in British Columbia, he served in World War II and played in provincial hockey leagues where, in 1946, he was spotted by scouts from the New York Rangers. Two years later, he broke the NHL’s colour barrier, becoming the first non-white player to take to the rink in the world’s top hockey league. Although his time with the Rangers lasted a mere minute, he went on to have a long and lasting career in minor league hockey, including a season in the UK with the Nottingham Panthers. He died aged 94 and was a unique hit for theme team Ice Dancing.

From a groundbreaker in sports to the last of his kind. Bill Lucas was the oldest surviving British Olympian, having competed at the 1948 Games in the 5000 metres. A promising athlete pre-war, the conflict - in which he served as flight sergeant responsible for numerous bombing raids over Germany - took the best years of his career, and by the time 1948 rolled around he wasn’t even able to make the finals of his chosen event. He never made any income from athletics, and worked for the rest of his life in insurance. He died aged 101 and was a unique hit for Die Now....Die Now....Show Us You've Pegged.

Bill Maynard was just a little too late for us this time round, and assuming he doesn’t rise again on Easter Sunday, his obit will be carried in the next update.

Latest Stiffs: 15th March 2018 by Spade Cooley

[Picture of Professor Stephen Hawking]

Black hole son...

chair man steps down

Professor Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, academic and star of that show where they say “Bazinga” a lot, has died aged 76. He was diagnosed with ALS in the early 1960s and was not expected to live more than another few years, but thrived despite being confined to a wheelchair and having his voice taken away from him – indeed, his speech-generating device meant he arguably had the most famous voice of anyone on the planet. His breakthrough work, “A Brief History of Time”, rewrote what it meant to be a popular science book and stayed on the Sunday Times best-seller list for a still record 237 weeks. Outside of cosmology, he enjoyed regular visits to strip clubs and had a bizarre set of cameo appearances doing fart gags in late 90s late-night Channel 4 show “TV Offal”. Neither of those facts have turned up in many obituaries. Hawking’s public illness had long made him a popular dead pool pick, and 37 teams score with him this time out as he becomes the sixth drop 40 hit of the year.

[Picture of Ken Dodd and Jim Bowen]

knotty ashes to knotty ashes

Two of British light entertainment’s greats had the headline spot stolen by the Professor, so let’s pay tribute to them here. The DDP waves “tatty-bye” to Sir Ken Dodd, who has died following a lengthy battle with pneumonia aged 90. Dodd was widely seen as the last of the music hall comedians, an entertainer equally comfortable with rapid-fire one-liners as he was singing. Despite success on TV he always saw the stage as his home territory, regularly doing four- and five-hour sets for audiences and touring up until his final months. Few living comedians had so many trademarks: the buck teeth, scruffy hair, tickle stick, his frankly creepy “Diddy Men” and, of course, his clashes with the Inland Revenue. Although acquitted of tax evasion in 1989, he still found time to give the taxman one final problem in his last days, marrying his long-time partner two days before dying at home in Knotty Ash. He’s got no silver and he’s got no gold, but 17 teams now have happiness in their soul.

Less than 24 hours after Doddy, Jim Bowen unsurprisingly went out with a double. A former school teacher, Bowen didn’t embark upon a career in showbiz until his mid 30s – apparently inspired to pursue stand-up after watching one of Ken Dodd’s legendary four-hour sets in Blackpool. First coming to fame as part of “Northern comics have issues with their mother-in-law” show “The Comedians”, his place in British pop culture history was cemented with his run as host of darts-based gameshow “Bullseye”. A combination of memorable catchphrases (“iiiiiiiinnnn one”), terrible prizes (a remote control toy car was one of the big-money wins on offer) and the chance to watch Keith Deller win £67 for charity proved irresistible for the general public, and the show lasted for 14 years. Bowen had been in poor health over recent years, and died aged 80. Twelve teams have decided not to gamble for the speedboat.

Few men dominated A-list fashion for as long as Hubert de Givenchy, designing clothes for everyone from Maria Callas to Chadwick Boseman. However, it was his long-time friend and muse Audrey Hepburn for whom he is most associated, helping design the infamous “little black dress” she wore in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, as well as creating her own bespoke perfume L’Interdit. He retired from frontline fashion in 1995, and has now died aged 91 in Paris. Two teams score.

Oskar Groning could have got away with it. He was a German SS officer who served at Auschiwtz, with a particular responsibility for confiscating the belongings of newly arrived internees. After the war finished he got away unpunished and returned back to civilian life... until he learned about Holocaust denial. So enraged was he by people casting doubt on the atrocities of Nazis, he made the records of his World War II actions public... thereby accidentally admitting his culpability in the murders of 300,000 Jews. Woopsy. He was found guilty in 2015, and had spent recent years going back and forth through the legal system claiming he was too unwell to serve time. He died aged 96 without serving a day in prison. Two teams were just following orders.

four minute mourning

Sir Roger Bannister's race is run, aged 88. He famously broke the four-minute mile barrier in 1954, in what was widely seen as more of a psychological achievement than an athletic one (the record had stood for nine years at the time, and was broken again just 54 days after Bannister’s achievement). Retiring from athletics in the same year as his breakthrough, he studied and practiced neurology. Indeed, when questioned on his life during the 50th anniversary celebrations of the four-minute mile, he admitted he considered his greatest achievements to be in science rather than athletics. He had suffered from Parkinson’s since 2011, and 12 teams cash in.

Russ Solomon started his career selling LPs in his father’s pharmacy. Soon realising there was a market for a dedicated establishing flogging music, he set up Tower Records in 1960, a chain that would become a byword for teenage music-buying among the US public for three decades. Napster put a stop to those days, however, and Tower went bust in 2006. Solomon died of a heart attack, aged 92, while drinking whiskey and mocking the red carpet interviews at the Oscars. A decent way to go. Rock and Roll will Never Die . . . except for . . . get a unique hit and a copy of REM’s “Monster” for $4.99.

To be nicknamed the “Baby Theft General”, you have to lead a pretty fucked-up life. Reynaldo Bignone was the last military dictator of Argentina, taking over in the aftermath of Leopoldo Galtieri setting that scouser with the moustache’s face on fire. Although installed with the promise of helping ease in a transformation towards democracy, in reality Bignone was more concerned with pushing any evidence of the junta’s crimes into the shredder. That delightful nickname came from his habit of stealing the newly-born children of politicial prisoners as an innovative form of torture. He died aged 90 in a military hospital and was a hit for two teams.

Sporting blue bloods are guaranteed QOs, and another one has now passed in the shape of Hubert Doggart. Hub D-O-G-G was the son of former FA chairman Graham Doggart, and became a Cambridge Blue in five different sports. It was as a cricketer he had the most success, however, and his 215 not out for Cambridge University against Lancashire remains the highest run tally by a debutant in English cricket. He went on to play for Sussex CC for 13 years, and also served as the MCC president during the 1980s. He was 92 and a unique hit for Breathless.

Latest Stiffs: 4th March 2018 by Spade Cooley

[Picture of Rev Billy Graham]

No more revivals for Billy...

run off a preacher man

One of the DDP’s most popular picks of all time, the Reverend Billy Graham, has died at the age of 99. Billy G had featured on the Drop 40 every year since its inception in 2011, perpetually on the brink of death yet seemingly resistant to finally go to his boss’s office. Graham’s fame began in the late 1940s as one of the first televised preachers, and the “Billy Graham Crusades” became a TV fixture for nearly 60 years before his retirement in 2005. Graham’s combination of old-fashioned hellfire preaching with some vaguely progressive views (he was fervently against racial segregation) saw him named one of the US’s most-respected men for 61 of the past 62 years. However, as he was a protestant he is unable to pass through the gates of heaven and is now burning for hell in eternity. 118 teams can testify to the points this year, with the Drop 40 claiming its fourth success of the year.

Director Lewis Gilbert, one of the grand old names behind the camera in British films, has died aged 97. A child actor in the 1920s and 1930s, Gilbert became a director after World War 2, originally tackling such pressing topics in his films as the production of cod liver oil and the foreign student intake of Loughborough Engineering College. He progressed to bigger and better things, though, with such varied hits as “Alfie”, “Sink the Bismarck!”, “Educating Rita” and “Shirley Valentine”. He also directed three James Bond movies, and was Roger Moore’s favourite 007 director. He could also have directed “Oliver!” and “The Godfather” (which both won Best Director Oscars), but was trapped in a contract with Paramount at the time and instead made 1970 bomb “The Adventurers”. Three teams are no longer wondering what’s it all about.

Nanette Fabray, who has has died at 97, overcame a significant hearing impairment to become a major star of stage and screen for four decades. Progressing from vaudeville to Broadway, she became part of the TV firmament as Sid Caesar’s comedy partner in “Caesar’s Hour”, as well as appearing alongside Fred Astaire in “The Band Wagon”. In the 1970s she became a sitcom mainstay, most notably in “One Day at a Time” in the role now taken by Rita Moreno in the current reboot. Seven teams get on the band wagon.

Lassie Lou Aherne was one of the last remaining silent movie actors. First spotted by Will Rogers (who, as historians will know, was allegedly the first ever dead pool hit), she was a recurring member of the “Our Gang” troop, and also played Little Harry in the 1927 version of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. She has died at 97and is a unique hit for A. Aaron Aardvark's Alliteration Association.

widow’s peaked

Lags are false friends to deadpoolers: you never know how legitimate their illness is, and “compassionate release” can mean anything from a return home to die instantly or al-Megrahi’s DDP-frustrating three-year jolly. Catherine Nevin, known as the “Black Widow” for her role in ordering the murder of her husband in a case that captivated Ireland in the late 1990s, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016 and given just months to live by doctors. The DDP’s top brass were put on immediate alert and she remained an unsuccessful pick for the majority of the leaders in last year’s edition. Making it to the start of 2018, she saw her stock rocket and was picked by 50 teams. She becomes the fifth Drop 40 success of the year and we’re already 1/3 of the way to equalling the all-time record with just two months gone.

Vanessa Goodwin, who has died aged 48, was the Liberal Party member for the seat of Pembroke in the Tasmanian Legislative Council. What does that mean? It means she was an Australian politician of some stripe, and if you’re Australian and of any note you get a Daily Mail obituary, so she was always going to be a popular selection for the cognoscenti. A total of 21 teams cash in, with Bucket of Blood hitting the top of the scoreboard as the competition enters its final 10 months. Just call me Newsboy.

You’ll rarely get the chance to score with an American death row resident, so full respect to Bobby Zarin's Mack the Knifed with their pick of Alva Campbell. Campbell shot dead a complete stranger he had carjacked during a prison escape attempt in 1997 and was sentenced to death just a year later. Scheduled for death on November 15 2017, attempts to execute him failed as his body was in such a poor state that no suitable vein for injection existed. That’s right, he wasn’t healthy enough to be killed. Natural causes finally saw him off in early March at the age of 69.

The Love Boat are bubbling under as prospects at the moment, only just creeping into the top 20, but picks like Emma Hannigan show why he remains a contender. Hannigan was an Irish author who had been battling breast cancer on-and-off for 11 years. A series of blog posts in late 2017 signified her time was coming to a close, but the QO would normally have been in question – if it wasn’t for the fact that, two days before her death at 45, she shot to the top of the bestsellers list with her latest book “Letters to My Daughters”. The obituaries promptly came flooding in.

List of the Lost - Latest Entrants

Bernie De Koven Livia Rev

List of the Missed - Latest Entrants

Keith O'Brien, David Cobham, Stephane Audran

Player of the Month - February

Wormer, He's A Dead Man! Niedermier Dead! Marmalard Dead! - 37 points

Latest News

Arnold Schwarzenegger gets emergency open-heart surgery after a routine procedure goes wrong. Boys have a penis, governators have an angina ... Jeremy Corbyn issues a special Passover message. That'll work...

Further Information

Rules & Scoring

E-mail Spade Cooley with any questions/comments about the DDP:


Derby Dead Pool is hosted by The Man In Black with contributions from Big-Iain, Rude Kid, Siegfried Baboon, Octopus of Odstock, WEP 2.0 - World's Eternity Prophet Reloaded, The Grey Horde, Thomas Jefferson Survives, Bibliogryphon, David Quantick's Showbiz Pals, Dickie's Gone the Way of the Dinosaurs & The End Of The World As We Know It
[DDP 2018]

Current Year

Who's dead so far?
List of the Lost
List of the Missed
A to Z list of teams
A to Z list of celebrities
Drop Forty
Theme Team League
The Obituary Vault
Last Year
Golden Slumbers
(168 points, 16 hits)


A brief history of dead pools
DDP stats & facts

Previous winners

David Quantick's Showbiz Pals (4)
David Quantick's Showbiz Pals (3)
David Quantick's Showbiz Pals (2)
David Quantick's Showbiz Pals
The Living End (3)
The Living End (2)
Octopus of Odstock
 Tonight, Matthew, I'm Going To Be Badly-Torn Boy
The Living End
Meet Your Maker (2)
Meet Your Maker
Fallen Sparrow
Otis, You Want A Treat?
Whittaker's Choice
MT Graves
Drunkasaskunk (2)
Nick J (2)
Nick J