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Thursday 5 February 2015

The famous Derby man that walks backwards writing down car number plates. Where have YOU seen him?

There is a famous "local character" in Derby, very distinctive because he walks backwards along the streets of Derby City. He's a Derby legend!
He seems like a pleasant chap, not causing any harm to anyone and he always has a big smile on his face.
The famous Derby man that walks backwards ! Have you seen him? Let me know via Twitter.

Whats he writing down?

He wears a large backpack and an open jotter writing down as he walks backwards. If you live in Derby or drive around the city I dare say you will have seen him at some point.
He gets around quite a bit, not just in the city centre.
I saw him last week walking down Ashbourne Road at 6:55am.
Have also seen him on Christmas Day at the top of Babington Lane, walking backwards down Mercian Way.
Seen him walking backwards down St Peters Street.
Seen him on Midland Road going backwards around the traffic lights a few times while he waited for the lights to change.
Seen him on Albert Street Zebra Crossing, where he would stand repeatedly pressing the button.

He has even been seen at Nottingham Bus Station on his way to Derby in October 2014.

It would appear that he is writing down car number plate numbers but I have seen him walking down the pedestrianised St Peters Street in Derby and he
was still writing something down then, so it can't be car number plates! What could it be?

So, What does he look like? He is very distinctive, Unlikely you would miss him. His main traits are:
He walks backwards !!!!!!!! (Surely that's enough to recognise him!)
Wears a large black and green Backpack
Always has a large book open and writing something in it.
long black straggly hair
small black beard, grey at the front.
Bulging eyes
Big smile
He has to keep moving, does not stop very often.
Sometimes he seems to get stuck going around lampposts.

Where have YOU seen him?
Does anyone know what he is actually writing down in his jotter?
Have you ever spoken to him? What did he say?

Get in touch via Twitter - AndySavage1969 , use #DerbyBackwardsMan

Here are some videos of the famous Derby walking backwards man around various places in the City, just to prove that he really does exist.
Please note none of these videos are by me, they are taken by other people.

New video for May 2017. This is a music video by Derby's international rap artist Eyez and features many Derby streets and also the man who walks backwards !
To see his cameo appearance see here : Man who walks backwards.

A video posted by elizaalexandria (@elizaalexandria) on

A new March 2015 video of someone asking him questions !!!!

Walking backwards on Derwent Street, Derby:

In this video you can see the Walking backwards Derby man doing several loops around a lampost on Derby Market Place.

Stuck in a loop at the crossing at The Spot.

There are lots of local characters in Derby but this guy is very distinctive and always brings a smile to peoples faces.

Other local characters you may remember are that Jamaican guy that rides a push bike around Normanton, he's customised it so it looks like a motorbike! It has a load music system on it.

Then there was that guy that used to have his head completely wrapped in a long scarf, he had white socks and sandals whatever the weather!

An of course there is that middle aged Japanese man that dresses like a school boy (like Angus Young)!



  1. This chap is usually to be found in McDonald's on St Peters Street early in a morning. He never seems to buy anything, but walks around in a big circle (backwards) in there. As you say, he always seems very pleasant.

    I don't think it's car number plates he's writing down, as he writes down while walking around in McDonald's, but I genuinely have no clue what he could be writing.

    As a psychology student, I find his behaviour fascinating. I once worked with a guy who ABSOLUTELY REFUSED to turn left. His was a disorder similar to OCD. I wonder if this could be the same?



    1. Hi Rich, Wow, Yes its not car number plates but what is it hes writing I wonder?
      As a psychology student I bet its very interesting.
      This gut that refused to "turn left", I trust you mean when driving and not when walking?


  2. This guy is a derby legend

  3. Still doing the backwards thing in 2017. My son saw him place a sheet torn from his pad into a menu holder on the next door table in Nandos. He asked him what was on it, at which the guy threw himself over it in a protective move, which my son took to be a sign that he wasn't going to get an answer. Let's respect his dignity and privacy. It's good that some mysteries don't get solved.

  4. I was told today (24/5/17) that he used to be a doctor and that his wife and child died in an accident but when I mentioned this elsewhere, was told his daughter was kidnapped and that that is why he writes down car number plates.I believe he does have treatment for mental health issues and seems better (no walking backwards) for a time but reverts to usual behaviour. Very sad if he is homeless as would be particularly vulnerable but would think he ought to be known to Derby NHS Mental Health Services.

  5. its true 1 of his family died in a car crash
    he does write number plates in hope he finds the hit and run driver
    very nice guy, doesn't really speak

  6. its true his wife was killed in hit and run , he does write down number plates
    but it happened years ago
    he doesn't speak but he is a pleasant guy

  7. He counts the number of steps between 2 points and writes them down. He's obsessed with numbers. He gets on the bus and buys a ticket, adds up all the numbers on the serial number and if its not the number he's after he'll buy another and another and another until all the numbers add up. TBH whenever you talk to him he's really polite though he tends to avoid conversation if he can. With that said, I've not seen him for a year or 2 now as I no longer work on the buses or in Derby at all.