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Richard Digance at the 2010 Cropredy Festival
24 February 1949 |
Plaistow, Essex, England
|Occupation||Comedian, folk-singer, media executive|
Digance was born in Plaistow, Essex (now part of east London). After his family moved to nearby East Ham, he attended Vicarage Lane Primary School and then Thomas Lethaby Secondary Modern. After gaining two A-Level passes in English Literature and Modern British History, he moved to Glasgow, where he studied mechanical engineering at Reid Kerr College, Paisley, during which time he was inspired by Billy Connolly and Mike Harding.
Richard Digance began his TV career on Sound of The City for Thames TV, produced by Richard Newman, in the early 1970s. This debut appearance was followed by The Old Grey Whistle Test and then the Today programme. The Whistle Test was his only BBC TV appearance except for appearing on The Ronnie Corbett Show years later and then link-man for BBC2 coverage of The Cambridge Folk Festival. He then became a regular contributor on The 6 o'clock Show with Michael Aspel. He had to wait over a decade to be given his own show.
His first own TV Special was in 1985 for Thames TV, A Dabble With Digance, and featured newsreader Carol Barnes. After the success of this special he was signed to TVS in Southampton after being a studio warm-up act there for Matthew Kelly and this first series of six programmes screened on Thursday nights. He also filmed a pilot The Three Busketeers featuring himself, Chris Barrie who went on to star in Red Dwarf, and Adrian Hedley. At this time he still continued as a studio warm-up act for The Des O'Connor Show. He was also appearing regularly on late night shows for Tyne Tees Television with Gillian Reynolds.
Richard left for London Weekend Television under Greg Dyke and filmed numerous Saturday night TV Specials for ITV. His guests included Status Quo, Brian May, Elkie Brooks, The Moody Blues, Marc Cohn, Buffy St Marie, Joe Pasquale, Juan Martin, Julia Fordham, Chris de Burgh and many others. An additional series with Jim Davidson Wednesday At 8 made him a popular guest during this period from 1985 to 1995. His guest-spots are almost endless; Surprise Surprise with Cilla Black - The Gloria Hunniford Show - The Jim Davidson Show - Des O'Connor Show - Live From Her Majesty's - Live From Piccadilly - Summertime Special with Michael Barrymore - Live From The Palladium with Roy Orbison - The Comedians - Magpie - Celebrity Snooker and Fish o'Mania with Steve Davis - Pebble Mill At One - Saturday Night At The Mill - That's Entertainment with Kenny Everett and Julian Clary - Crosswits - The Tom O'Connor Show - The Parkinson Show with Tommy Steele and many more. He received a BAFTA Nomination as TV Entertainer Of The Year.
He came to public attention as a regular turn on the popular Sunday evening Live from... (Her Majesty's/the Piccadilly/the Palladium) variety series (produced by LWT for ITV) and also on Summertime Special, a variety showcase of the 1980s. Digance also was the support act for U.K. singer Elkie Brooks on many occasions.
He is known for his television one-hour specials, starting in 1985 with A Dabble of Digance. Abracadigance was a series of four shows in 1988. The 1992 show, Richard Digance's Greatest Bits, recorded at the Brighton Dome, included some of his most popular routines from stage and screen, including the "Nursery Rhymes", "Remembers" and "Jungle Cup Final".
Appearances on TV Specials included HRH The Prince of Wales Princes Trust Galas at The London Palladium with Elton John and Robin Williams - All At Sea, again before HRH The Prince of Wales - Christmas Eve Forces Special from The Berlin Wall - The Zeebrugge Disaster Concert at The London Palladium with Bernard Manning.
In the next decade he made two series for Carlton Westcountry TV visiting villages in a Morris Traveller and using locals as guests.
Digance was the managing director of Creative Results and Sound TV, a satellite channel based on variety, which launched in February 2005. However, he resigned in August 2005, and the channel went into administration. He also co-founded SKD Media, later to become Entertainment Rights; these are involved in releasing nostalgic programming on DVD.
In October 2003 he received the Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors for his services to music.
He also annually takes to the stage at Cropredy Festival for the first set on the final day.
He appeared at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2013, performing a solo show, and also his children's musical, War of the Worms, narrated by his daughter, Rosie. He aimed to perform 22 completely different shows across 22 nights.
Richard has two daughters, Polly and Rosie.
Former resident of Debden, Saffron Walden in Essex.