Roy Castle OBE (31 August 1932 – 2 September 1994) was an English dancer, singer, comedian, actor, television presenter and musician. In addition to being an accomplished jazz trumpet player, he could play many other instruments. Following a versatile career as a performer on stage, television and film, he became best known to British television viewers as the long-running presenter of the children's series Record Breakers.
|Born||31 August 1932|
|Died||2 September 1994 (aged 62)|
|Known for||Record Breakers|
Fiona Dickson (m. 1963–1994)
|Children||4, including Ben Castle|
Castle was born in Scholes, near Holmfirth, West Riding of Yorkshire. The son of a railwayman, he was a tap dancer from an early age and trained at Nora Bray's school of dance with Audrey Spencer who later ran a big dance school, and after leaving Holme Valley Grammar School (now Honley High School) he started his career as an entertainer in an amateur concert party. As a young performer in the 1950s, he lived in Cleveleys near Blackpool and appeared there at the local Queen's Theatre, turning professional in 1953 as a stooge for Jimmy Clitheroe and Jimmy James. By 1958 he was appearing at the Royal Variety Show. As a singer, he released one charting single in 1960, the Christmas song "Little White Berry".
In 1965, Castle starred with Peter Cushing in the film Dr. Who and the Daleks, the first of two cinematic spin-offs from the popular BBC television series. He played the role of Dr. Who's first male assistant, Ian Chesterton, and was cast to perform the role more comedically than it had been played by William Russell in the original series. He also appeared in Dr. Terror's House of Horrors as a jazz musician suffering a curse after copying voodoo tunes. He also appeared in Carry On Up the Khyber in 1968 and in the TV musical Pickwick for the BBC in 1969. In the 90s he appeared again in Pickwick, touring the country, starring alongside Sir Harry Secombe and the show was recorded again. Sir Harry had originally starred in the West End version of the show in 1963. In 1973, Castle teamed up with the actor and comedian Ronnie Barker in an original one-off called "Another Fine Mess" (an episode from a series called Seven of One). Barker was one of Castle's best friends, and paid tribute to their work together shortly after Castle's death.
Between 1967 and 1968 Castle co-starred with Jimmy Edwards in the London West End run of the comedy farce show Big Bad Mouse when Eric Sykes had to withdraw because of illness. The show was resident at the Shaftesbury Theatre and, being loosely scripted, it offered both Edwards and Castle the chance to freely ad-lib and generally break the fourth wall with the audience, Castle breaking into trumpet performances while Edwards walked into a front stall seat to read a newspaper, tap dancing and firing ping-pong balls into the stalls. He also once stood in for Bruce Forsyth hosting The Generation Game in 1975 while Forsyth was ill. He made many appearances on BBC TV's long running variety show The Good Old Days, making huge use of his multi instrumental and performing skills.
In 1972, he first presented Record Breakers, a children's show, and he remained host for over 20 years. He recorded the theme song for the show himself. While presenting the show he broke nine world records himself, including
He was a host of the show up until a few months before his death in 1994, alongside Norris and Ross McWhirter, Fiona Kennedy and Cheryl Baker. From then on, hosting was taken over by Baker and former athlete Kriss Akabusi. It continued for 29 years until 2001, one of Britain's longest-running shows.
Between 1958 and 1969, Castle recorded three LPs. One of these, Songs For A Rainy Day was recorded in 1966 for Columbia and was reissued in the UK on CD by EMI Gold, re-titled Isn't This A Lovely Day. The record features twelve songs with rain as the theme. British jazz players of the day Gordon Beck (piano), Jeff Clyne (bass), Leon Calvert (flugelhorn), Ike Isaacs (guitar), Ray Swinfield (flute) and Al Newman (saxophone) played on the record and it features jazz arrangements by Victor Graham covering a variety of styles such as big band, ("Pennies From Heaven", "Stormy Weather"), ballads ("February Brings The Rain", "Here's That Rainy Day", "Soon It's Gonna Rain") and bossa novas ("Everytime It Rains", "The Gentle Rain").
Castle married dancer Fiona Dickson in 1963. They had been introduced to each other by Eric Morecambe. Both Castle and his wife were committed Christians and they regularly attended the Baptist church near their home. They had four children. Their youngest son, Ben Castle (born 1973), is a jazz saxophonist who has played with a wide range of artists, including Jamie Cullum, Carleen Anderson, Beth Rowley, Marillion and Radiohead, and performed on film soundtracks.
Castle was a football fan and supported Liverpool. Less than six months before his death, he attended the Liverpool-Everton derby match at Anfield on 14 March 1994 and stood on the Spion Kop terrace. He had also been in the crowd at Liverpool's FA Cup final victory over Sunderland in May 1992, shortly after he was first found to have cancer. At that time Ronnie Barker paid tribute to him, referring to their portrayal of characters that bore a strong resemblance to Laurel and Hardy in Another Fine Mess.
Castle was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 1992, and was told that his chances of recovery were slim and that it was unlikely that he would live for more than six months. He underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy and went into remission later that year. A non-smoker, he blamed his illness on passive smoking during his years of playing the trumpet in smoky jazz clubs. On 26 November 1993, Castle announced that his illness had returned, and once again underwent treatment in the hope of overcoming it. Several months later, he carried out the high-profile Tour of Hope to raise funds for the erection of the building that would become the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, which is the only British charity dedicated solely to defeating lung cancer. By this stage, however, his condition was deteriorating and recovery was looking highly unlikely.
During and shortly after Castle's illness, many smoke-free restaurants and cafes were awarded the Roy Castle Clean Air Award to denote their adherence to a (then voluntary) smoke-free regime.
His final contribution to Record Breakers was aired at the end of the series ending in December 1993, although the programme continued until 2001.
He died in Buckinghamshire on 2 September 1994, two days after his 62nd birthday.
His widow Fiona worked with the charity after her husband's death, and campaigned for the British smoking ban which came into effect in Northern Ireland in 2004, Scotland in 2006 and England and Wales in 2007, banning smoking in virtually all enclosed public places.
|1960||Sink the Bismarck!||Seaman on 'Prince of Wales'||Uncredited|
|1965||Dr. Terror's House of Horrors||Biff Bailey||(segment "Voodoo")|
|1965||Dr. Who and the Daleks||Ian Chesterton|
|1967||The Plank||Delivery Man with boxes (Wilfred Bavistock)|
|1968||Carry On Up the Khyber||Capt. Keene|
|1975||Legend of the Werewolf||Photographer|
Ben Castle (born 1973) is a British jazz musician, the younger son of television presenter and entertainer Roy Castle (1932–1994) and his wife Fiona (born 1940). He placed first in the Jazz category of the 2003 International Songwriting Competition with his song "The Heckler".Castle plays the saxophone (as his late father did) as well as the clarinet and has performed as a backing musician for Duke Special, Radiohead, Blur, Matthew Herbert, Gregory Porter, Sting, Stan Tracey, Humphrey Lyttelton, George Michael, Djabe, Paloma Faith, Marlena Shaw and Jamie Cullum.
Castle co-wrote the album Little Dreamer with singer Beth Rowley. The album debuted at number 6 on the UK Albums Chart in 2008.
In 1986, Castle saw Marillion play at the Milton Keynes Bowl. Through his interest in drumming as a youth, he became acquainted with Marillion drummer Ian Mosley and many years later performed saxophone on the band's track "Deserve", from their 1999 album Marillion.com, as well as recording an album with Mosley, Postmankind, which was released in 2001.Castle played the woodwind with the band Storm Corrosion, on their self-titled album.
In 2014, Castle released Over The Moon EP with his band The Tombola Theory on Ben Castle's Major Record Label. They play original pop music inspired by traditional jazz. Ben formed the band to pay tribute to Tommy 'Tootle' Truman, a school janitor and controversial character who played clarinet in a Trad Jazz band in his local pub every Wednesday night for nearly 23 years. He was Ben's first and most enduring musical influence. Tommy died in obscurity in 2009, leaving behind no known recordings.Bring Me Sunshine (1994)
Bring Me Sunshine (1994) was originally a three-part retrospective in tribute to Eric Morecambe and was hosted by the comedian and author Ben Elton; the first episode was screened on 14 May 1994, which would have been his 68th birthday and featured interviews with many people who had guest starred in The Morecambe & Wise Show during its run from 1968 to 1977 and also had a host of memorable clips from the shows. Those interviewed included John Thaw, Roy Castle who died a few months afterwards, Diana Rigg as well as comments and tributes from modern day double acts Hale & Pace and Fry & Laurie.
Such was the popularity of the show (which aired in a Saturday evening prime-time slot) that three further editions were hastily commissioned and shown on BBC1 but the three later additions did not include interviews, just classic clips. This meant that the duo, having last performed together in late 1983, made an unexpected and triumphant return to prime time television after a break of over 10 years. Ernie Wise was not asked to participate, which upset him; he was quoted as saying "...you'd have thought they'd have asked for my memories...". The BBC said they didn't want "Too many talking heads". However, the fact that Wise was recovering from a minor stroke he suffered just before Christmas 1993 might have been a factor.
The programmes did much to lift the profile of the double-act, and began a resurgence of interest in their work. In August 1998, Wise was asked to take part in the documentary Bring Me Sunshine: The Heart and Soul of Eric Morecambe. He agreed to do so but he was too ill by the time he was due to be interviewed. He died on 21 March 1999.Carry On Up the Khyber
Carry On Up the Khyber is a British comedy and the sixteenth in the series of Carry On films to be made, released in November 1968. It stars Carry On regulars Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Bernard Bresslaw and Peter Butterworth. Roy Castle makes his only Carry On appearance in the romantic male lead part usually played by Jim Dale. Angela Douglas makes her fourth and final appearance in the series. Terry Scott returned to the series after his minor role in the first film of the series, Carry On Sergeant a decade earlier. The film is, in part, a spoof of Kiplingesque movies and television series about life in the British Raj, both contemporary and from earlier, Hollywood, periods. The title is a play on words in the risqué Carry On tradition, with "Khyber" (short for "Khyber Pass") being rhyming slang, in Received Pronunciation, for "arse".Dick Hills and Sid Green
Richard Michael Hills (17 January 1926 – 6 June 1996) and Sidney Green (24 January 1928 – 15 March 1999), informally known as Sid Green and Dick Hills, were a British partnership of television comedy writers, at their highest profile during the 1960s.
They both attended Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham Boys Grammar School in south-east London. They were both school captains, Hills in 1943 and Green in 1945. Richard returned to the school as a teacher of English, Latin and French. They co-wrote a number of radio scripts whilst Hills was still employed there, and then became writers of Dave King's TV show.
Hills and Green created (with star Anthony Newley) and wrote the six-part surreal comedy series The Strange World of Gurney Slade (1960). The partnership also wrote for such performers as Roy Castle and Frankie Howerd, but their best-remembered collaboration was with the comedy double act Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise on the ATV show Two of a Kind (1962–66), and the comedians' first colour BBC series in 1968. Hills and Green also played supporting roles in various sketches in the series.
Hills and Green were involved in the writing of the three cinema films made by Morecambe and Wise in the 1960s: The Intelligence Men (1965) (in which they also had cameo roles), That Riviera Touch (1966), and The Magnificent Two (1967). After nearly 10 years writing for Morecambe and Wise, Green and Hills signed an exclusive contract writing for ATV around 1968, and their professional relationship with Morecambe and Wise ended. After their two-year contract ended, the two writers attempted to try to break into the US TV market with Green and Hills writing for Johnny Carson. Green alone wrote for The Don Knotts Show (1970–71) in Los Angeles, although Don Knotts did not initially use any of Green's material. Green and Hills also wrote and starred in their own show, Those Two Fellers (1967) for the ITV contractor ABC.
In the US, Green and Hills wrote for a number of American comedians, including the Flip Wilson show, for which they were nominated for an Emmy Award. When Hills' son Mark became eligible for the US draft in the 1970s, Hills moved his family back to Britain and the men's partnership broke up. Green remained in the US writing for Johnny Carson, Bill Cosby and others, but still contributed to British television. Green created the sitcom Mixed Blessings (1978–80) and wrote some episodes of it. Hills continued to write for light entertainment shows in the UK during the 1980s.
During the early eighties they wrote for the British double act Cannon and Ball, occasionally recycling material that had been used for Morecambe and Wise in the sixties.Dr. Who and the Daleks
Dr. Who and the Daleks is a 1965 British science fiction film directed by Gordon Flemyng and written by Milton Subotsky, and the first of two films based on the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who. It stars Peter Cushing as Dr. Who, Roberta Tovey as Susan, Jennie Linden as Barbara, and Roy Castle as Ian. It was followed by Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966).
The story is based on the Doctor Who television serial The Daleks, produced by the BBC. Filmed in Technicolor, it is the first Doctor Who story to be made in colour and in a widescreen format. The film was not intended to form part of the ongoing story-lines of the television series. Elements from the programme are used, however, such as various characters, the Daleks and a police box time machine, albeit in re-imagined forms.Eli Woods
Eli Woods (11 January 1923 – 1 May 2014) born John Casey, was an English comedian and comic actor, born in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, possibly best known for his work with stage comedian Jimmy James (in reality his uncle), and particularly for his part in the famous 'elephant-in-the-box' routine.Jimmy James developed his famous act over many years, but from the first it required two 'stooges'. One was John "Jack" Casey—tall and stick-thin, with a bony face and a stammering delivery—who originally appeared as "Bretton Woods" (named after the location of the famous 1944 United Nations monetary and financial Conference), and only later redubbed as "Eli" Woods (often "Our Eli"). The other stooge, 'Hutton Conyers' would be played either by members of the Casey family - including, on occasion, James Casey - or (from 1956 to 1959) by the young Roy Castle. Much later, Woods was in the support cast of Castles in the Air, a comedy series on BBC Radio 2.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Woods featured in two Eddie Braben scripted comedy shows: The Show With Ten Legs (26 episodes, 1978–80) and The Show with No Name (13 episodes, 1982–84). Both shows harked back to the music hall tradition. As a performer, Woods turned his lifelong stutter to his advantage, using it to comic effect in many contexts. For many years active as a stage and radio performer, Woods also appeared in a number of television comedies, as well as playing small parts in a variety of films including A Private Function released in 1984.Although Woods's birth name was John Casey, he was better known to his family as Jack. He died at home in Stockton-on-Tees in the early hours of Thursday 1 May 2014, aged 91.Fiona Dickson
Joan Fiona Dickson OBE, or Fiona Dickson (best known as Fiona Castle) (born 1940 on the Wirral Peninsula, Cheshire) is a retired British dancer and was wife of TV entertainer Roy Castle. They were married from 1963 until his death from lung cancer in September 1994.
She carried on his work for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, which her husband set up shortly before his death, for research into treatment as well as raising the profile of the illness. Her involvement with the foundation has seen her raise the profile of the illness, and call for stricter legislation on smoking, as her husband, a non-smoker, believed that his illness was caused by passive smoking, as he had worked in many smoky environments during his career.She was a supporter of legislation which saw smoking banned from virtually all enclosed public places in Britain by July 2007.Castle was awarded the OBE for her services to charity in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2004.Honley High School
Honley High School is a secondary school situated on the edge of the village of Honley in the Holme Valley, West Yorkshire, England. The catchment area includes the neighbouring villages of Brockholes, Honley and Meltham. Honley High has around 1,250 pupils aged 11–16. The school houses the specialist autism provision for young people with ASD from the South Kirklees area.Ian Chesterton
Ian Chesterton is a fictional character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who and a companion of the First Doctor. He was played in the series by William Russell, and was one of the members of the programme's very first regular cast, appearing in the bulk of the first two seasons from 1963 to 1965. In a film adaptation of one of the serials, Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965), he was played by Roy Castle, but with a very different personality and backstory. Ian appeared in 16 stories (77 episodes).Julian Farino
Julian Farino is an English film and television producer and director, who was sports editor of The Guinness Book of Records and is now perhaps best known for his work as director of Entourage and producer of various films in the United Kingdom. Farino was born and raised in London and educated at Cambridge University. He began directing film documentaries at Granada Television in England, making a sequence of observational films about drag queens, young classical musicians, children's entertainers and boxers. They Call Us Nutters was a portrait of life on a ward of Ashworth Maximum Security Hospital, and A Winter's Tale described life in the coldest inhabited place on earth, Oymyakon in Eastern Siberia.
In 2000 he directed 7Up 2000, a continuation of the multi-award winning documentary series, featuring 7-year-olds from all over Britain - a project that continued with 14 Up in 2007. His film drama in the UK includes an adaptation of Charles Dickens's Our Mutual Friend, which won four BAFTAs including Best Drama; Bob and Rose, a romantic comedy which won Best Series at The British Comedy Awards; and Flesh and Blood, starring Christopher Eccleston, which won the Prix Europa for Best Film. Other credits in the UK include The Last Yellow for BBC Films starring Samantha Morton and Mark Addy, and Byron, a biopic of the romantic poet, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Vanessa Redgrave.
Farino went to the United States in 2004 to work for HBO, and directed the majority of episodes of the first three seasons of Entourage. He stayed to work on the series Big Love and Rome, and has received four Emmy and three DGA nominations. He was executive producer and director of the HBO television show How to Make It in America for its two series. In 2010, Farino directed The Oranges starring Hugh Laurie and Leighton Meester, his first feature film in the US. The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released on 5 October 2012. Farino is based in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife, actress Branka Katić, and their two sons, Louis and Joe.
During the 1980s, Farino also appeared as a co-presenter on Record Breakers, alongside Fiona Kennedy and main presenter Roy Castle.Multi-instrumentalist
A multi-instrumentalist is a musician who plays two or more musical instruments at a professional level of proficiency.
Also known as doubling, the practice allows greater ensemble flexibility and more efficient employment of musicians, where a particular instrument may be employed only briefly or sporadically during a performance. Doubling is not uncommon in orchestra (e.g., flutists who double on piccolo) and jazz (saxophone/flute players); double bass players might also perform on electric bass. In music theatre, a pit orchestra's reed players might be required to perform on multiple instruments. Church piano players are often expected to play the church's pipe organ or Hammond organ as well.
In popular music it is more common than in classical or jazz for performers to be proficient on instruments not from the same family, for instance to play both guitar and keyboards. Many bluegrass musicians are multi-instrumentalists. Some musicians' unions or associations specify a higher rate of pay for musicians who double on two or more instruments for a performance or recording.Pickwick (1969 film)
Pickwick is a British television musical made by the BBC in 1969 and based on the stage musical Pickwick, which in turn was based on The Pickwick Papers written by Charles Dickens. It stars Harry Secombe as Samuel Pickwick and Roy Castle as Sam Weller.This television production was based on the stage musical Pickwick which had been a commercial success. It was adapted for the screen by James Gilbert and Jimmy Grafton. The musical had been produced by Bernard Delfont and had premiered in the West End in 1963, again with Harry Secombe in the lead role and with choreography by Gillian Lynne.
Running at 90 minutes and made in colour, the TV musical again had lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and a score by Cyril Ornadel. The book was by Wolf Mankowitz and it was directed by Terry Hughes. The programme was first transmitted on 11 June 1969 and again on 26 December 1969. One of the better known songs from the score is "If I Ruled the World".
The cast of this production differed somewhat from that of the stage musical.Pickwick (musical)
Pickwick is a musical with a book by Wolf Mankowitz, music by Cyril Ornadel, and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. Based on The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, it is set in and around London and Rochester in 1828.
Produced by Bernard Delfont, Pickwick premiered in the West End in 1963, with Harry Secombe in the lead role and choreography by Gillian Lynne.Ray Donnelly
Professor Ray Donnelly MBE FRCS (born 1936) is a British cardiothoracic surgeon and founder of the UK's only lung cancer charity, the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.Record Breakers
Record Breakers is a British children's TV show, themed around world records and produced by the BBC. It was broadcast on BBC1 from 15 December 1972 to 21 December 2001. It was originally presented by Roy Castle with Guinness World Records founders twin brothers Norris McWhirter and Ross McWhirter. The programme was a spin-off series from Blue Peter which had featured record breaking attempts overseen by the McWhirter twins. Producers of the series over the years were, Alan Russell (its creator), Michael Forte, Eric Rowan, Greg Childs, Annette Williams and Jeremy Daldry.
The closing theme was "Dedication", performed by Roy Castle, who broke nine world records on the show himself.As well as interviews with people who held British or World records, early editions of the programme would include a feature in which the studio audience would test the McWhirter brothers on their (almost infallible) knowledge of records, and the climax of each show would usually be a world record attempt in the studio. Ross was murdered by a Provisional IRA gunman in 1975, but his brother continued to appear on the show in the "Norris On The Spot" feature.Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is a registered charity in the United Kingdom which aims to provide help and hope to people affected by lung cancer. Founded in Liverpool in 1990, it is the only UK charity to focus solely on lung cancer care. The charity has a dual focus - saving lives and supporting people affected by lung cancer. It funds lung cancer research, supports the prevention of lung cancer by encouraging and helping people to avoid or quit smoking, and raises general awareness of lung cancer and its symptoms. It also supports lung cancer patients by running support groups, providing information to the NHS, and other measures.The organisation was founded as the Lung Cancer Fund in 1990 by Professor Ray Donnelly, a thoracic surgeon working in Liverpool, where it provided the first lung cancer support nurse in 1991. In 1993 Donnelly proposed the creation of an international centre for lung cancer research. At this time UK entertainer Roy Castle had been diagnosed with lung cancer, and he agreed to raise £12 million to build, equip and run the new centre. The Lung Cancer Fund was therefore renamed Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. Castle continued fundraising for the charity until his death in September 1994.
The charity has since expanded its operations to include a retail wing operating shops in the Merseyside area. It has funded numerous research projects across UK universities, and provides a research fellowship at the University of Nottingham. In 2011 it raised a total of £2.3 million towards lung cancer prevention and care. The charity's celebrity supporters include Sir Alex Ferguson, Ricky Gervais, Melanie Chisholm, Duncan Bannatyne, Lynda Bellingham, Tricia Penrose, Jenny Frost, Pete Reed, Katherine Grainger, Robert Peston, Robert Powell, Billy Bragg, and Tony Parsons.Scholes, Holme Valley
Scholes is a Pennine hilltop village, situated 1 mile (2 km) to the southeast and above Holmfirth, 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Huddersfield, in the Holme Valley of West Yorkshire, England. It has a population of 1,990. The name Scholes may have originated from the Scandinavian language meaning 'the temporary huts or sheds'.
The village contains one non denominational primary school, originally built in 1908, modernised in 1976 and extended in 1986. The school caters for approximately 213 pupils aged four to eleven.Scholes was the birthplace of the entertainer Roy Castle, well known as the presenter of the long-running BBC show Record Breakers.Seven of One
Seven of One is a British comedy series that aired on BBC2 in 1973. Starring Ronnie Barker, 7 of One is a series of seven separate comedies that would serve as possible pilots for sitcoms. Originally it was to be called Six of One, which Barker planned to follow up with another series called Half Dozen of the Other. This was a BBC equivalent of a similar showcase for London Weekend Television called Six Dates with Barker created in 1971.
In addition to Barker, Seven of One also featured Roy Castle, Bill Maynard, Talfryn Thomas, Prunella Scales, Glynn Edwards, Joan Sims, Keith Chegwin, Leslie Dwyer, Robin Parkinson, Sam Kelly, Christopher Biggins, Richard O'Callaghan, Yootha Joyce, David Jason, and Avis Bunnage in supporting roles. The series was released on BBC DVD in 2005.Tricia Penrose
Patricia "Tricia" Penrose (born 9 April 1970) is an English actress and singer. She is best known for her role as Gina Ward in ITV1's long-running 1960s drama Heartbeat, a role she played continuously for 17 years from 1993 to 2010. She has also appeared on The Royal, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Boon, Justice, Fort Boyard, The Bill and Dancin' Thru the Dark.