Remembering Duggie Chapman
DUGGIE CHAPMAN 31st March 1936 - 1st April 2017
'Saddened to hear the passing off the great theatrical producer Duggie Chapman he gave much panto and summer work to us all ! RIP old friend! ' - Jimmy Cricket'
''Very sad to hear of the passing of Duggie Chapman, who I worked for so many times over the years and gave me my first "Dame" role in panto''
- Bobby Crush
''Very sad to hear of the passing of Duggie Chapman this morning. He always had a showbiz story to tell and shared laughter! Bless Him & RIP''
- Phil Dale
''A lot of people relied on Duggie, he gave a lot of work to a lot of people, he will be missed''
- Stu Francis
''Sad to hear about the passing of a showbiz legend Mr Duggie Chapman ...I loved that man rest in peace buddy''
- Bobby Ball
''R.I.P. Showbiz Legendary Producer of Variety,Thank you for the work & your kindness''
- Steve Hewlett
''Dear Duggie, thank you for the great pantos we did together at Billingham forum''
Duggie Chapman will be remembered as one of the friendliest and most respected Theatreical agents ever. He was an entertainer and producer of international status whose career was launched aged just 11-years-old when he won the part through auditions for a northern boy for the Robert Donat film The Cure for Love. He got the showbiz bug at the age of 15, on leaving school, went on tour with a boy singing group The Four Blue Pages and during the proceeding three years of continuous touring in variety his voice broke and developed an unmusical croak overnight.
He decided to turn to comedy and his first engagement as a comedian was at the age of 18 at the Old Collins Music Hall on Islington Green, a mecca at that time for agents and talent scouts. He was spotted by a representative of Vie Oliver who introduced him to the BBC producer Alistair Scott-Johnson, who gave him his first broadcast in Variety Playhouse. Many more radio shows followed and in all over 100 broadcasts for the BBC.
Duggie became popular as a summer show comedian and starred in summer shows throughout the country. Always in demand as a pantomime Dame he spent three consecutive Christmas seasons at Richmond Theatre, London, and for the Derek Salberg at Bournemouth and Birmingham.
Duggie played in the Peter Chelson award winning Feature Film starring Jerry Lewis 'Funny Bones' as The Reporter and the film starring James Bollom 'Seaview Knights' as Charlie.
It was in the sixties that Duggie went into business on his own account and his hugely popular Chapman Music Hall played every major town and city in Great Britain and abroad. Visits with the show to South Africa, Scandinavia (3 times) and USA (4 times) have meant a very busy schedule for today's top stars in a series of concerts and is a director in his own right, having produced more than 400 pantomimes, summer shows and plays. In 1997 Duggie was awarded the first 'Roy Castle' trophy for outstanding services to variety, from an impressive list of nominees.
In 2008 Duggie was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Music Hall Society and in 2009 was awarded Rat of the Year by the Grand Order of Water Rats, in the same year he became Encore Magazne's Producer of the Year.
2009 proved to be a great year for Duggie as he was honoured in the Queens Birthday Awards with an MBE for Services to Light Entertainment and his charity work.
As a performer Duggie appeared n panto in 1958/59 in Aladdin at the Granville Theatre in Ramsgate and for the 1961/62 season he was back in pantoland appearing in Babes in the Wood in Blackburn. The following year Duggie appeared in a panto production of Ali Baba at the Dudley Hippodrome, a production which enjoyed a long run and eventually came to an end on 10th February having enjoyed being extended twice.
His other panto appearances included:
1963/64 Jack and the Beanstalk as Simple Simon in Kidderminster
1965/65 Jack and the Beanstalk as Dame Durden in a touring panto
1966/67 Puss in Boots as Queen Penelope at the Richmond Theatre
1967/68 Babes in the Wood as Nurse at the Richmond Theatre
1968/69 Aladdin as Widow Twankey at the Bournemouth Pavilion
1969/70 Cinderella as one of the Ugly Sisters at the Barnsley Civic
1970/71 Red Riding Hood as Dame Dumpling at the Barnsley Civic
1971/72 Aladdin as Widow Twankey at the Barnsley Civic
1972/73 Babes in the Wood as Nurse Glucose at the Barnsley Civic
1985/86 Cinderella at the Lewisham Theatre, Catford
1992/93 Jack and the Beanstalk - Davenport Thetare in Stockport
Duggie passed away at 6am on 1st April 2017, just a day after celebrating his 81st birthday.