Keith Chegwin

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Keith Chegwin
Keith Chegwin - headshot.jpg
Chegwin in 1981
Born(1957-01-17)17 January 1957
Died11 December 2017(2017-12-11) (aged 60)
Shropshire, England
OccupationBroadcaster, actor
Years active1967–2017
Spouses
  • (m. 1982; div. 1993)
  • Maria Fielden
    (m. 2000)
Children2
RelativesJanice Long (sister)

Keith Chegwin (17 January 1957 – 11 December 2017) was an English television presenter and actor, appearing in several children's entertainment shows in the 1970s and 1980s, including Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and Cheggers Plays Pop.

His early career saw him performing in such West End stage shows as Tom Brown's School Days and Captain Pugwash. He also had a career as a singer, releasing singles on the Pye Records label and worked as a disc jockey for 194 Radio City in Liverpool. He spent four years at BBC Radio 1 on Tony Blackburn's weekend morning show. In 2000, he presented the Channel 5 nudist game-show Naked Jungle, appearing naked except for a hat and later describing it as "the worst career move" in his life.

Chegwin was known for his off-the-cuff ad-lib style of broadcasting and stated that no one had ever written a word for him. In 2012, he was scheduled to take part in the sixth series of Dancing on Ice, but he was forced to withdraw after breaking three ribs and fracturing his shoulder on the first day of training. In 2015, he was a housemate on Celebrity Big Brother Series 15 where he finished in fourth place.

He died on 11 December 2017 of the lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Early life[edit]

Chegwin was born in Walton, Liverpool, on 17 January 1957.[1] He entered an end-of-the-pier talent competition in Rhyl, North Wales, and later joined 'The Happy Wanderers', a concert party that toured the pubs and clubs of the North West. He was then spotted by June Collins (mother of Phil Collins) of the Barbara Speake Stage School on Junior Showtime, a Yorkshire Television children's talent series. She invited him to London to audition for the stage show Mame with Ginger Rogers. He attended stage school with his twin brother, Jeff. As part of a play he performed in at the school, Chegwin sang the first song that Phil Collins ever wrote.[2]

While at school, Chegwin auditioned and gained roles on TV, film and stage. He appeared in Children's Film Foundation productions, including as Egghead Wentworth in The Troublesome Double (1967) and Egghead's Robot (1970).[3] His most prestigious acting role was that of Fleance in Roman Polanski's film Macbeth (1971); he also had a small role in the film The Optimists of Nine Elms (1973).

In 1973 he appeared in the pilot episode of Open All Hours. After that he had parts in The Liver Birds, The Adventures of Black Beauty, My Old Man, Village Hall, Z-Cars (both 1974), ITV's The Wackers and The Tomorrow People serial Worlds Away (both 1975).[4]

His last major acting role was the title role in the film Robin Hood Junior (1975), although he had two small roles with Tom Courtenay in the Chester Mystery Cycle (1976) and some years later in the film Whatever Happened to Harold Smith? (1999). He appeared in TV ads for products such as Pepsi and Cadbury Creme Eggs[5] as well as for Ready Brek, Toffo and Tizer,[6] and was also associated with the Freemans catalogue.[7]

Chegwin performed in West End stage shows such as Tom Brown's School Days with Russell Grant and Simon Le Bon; The Good Old Bad Old Days with Anthony Newley; and Captain Pugwash by John Kennett at the King’s Road Theatre in 1973.[8] He had a career as a singer, releasing singles on the Cherub and Pye record labels, such as 'I'll Never Fall in Love Again' (1977),[9] but turned down an offer to front the band Kenny (who had a number 3 hit in the UK Singles Chart with "The Bump").[1][10][11] He also worked as a disc jockey for 194 Radio City in Liverpool,[12] and worked at BBC Radio 1 on Tony Blackburn's weekend morning show for four years.[13][10]

Career[edit]

Chegwin on the stage of Ossett Town Hall in West Yorkshire in 1981

In the mid 1970s, Chegwin moved away from acting, becoming a household name presenting programmes such as Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (1976–82), Cheggers Plays Pop (1978–86) and, in the 1980s, Saturday Superstore.[14] As Brown Sauce, he and Swap Shop co-presenters Noel Edmonds and Maggie Philbin released the pop single "I Wanna Be a Winner", which reached number 15 in January 1982,[15] and a follow-up single as the Saucers called "Spring Has Sprung". On Swap Shop and Superstore, he was featured in outside broadcasts; on Swap Shop they were called Swaparama, appearing at outdoor venues around Britain, where he helped children swap their toys. On Superstore, Chegwin had a similar role.[16]

Chegwin was known for his off-the-cuff ad-lib style of broadcasting. He stated that no-one had ever written a word for him. Chegwin's career waned in the late 1980s and 1990s, due to his alcoholism, as detailed, in his own words, in his semi autobiographical book, Shaken But Not Stirred.[17] In 1990, he hosted the live nightly Sky talent programme Sky Star Search.[18] Chegwin stopped drinking after his appearance on the Richard and Judy show This Morning on 5 November 1992. Chegwin's career regained speed in 1993 when he presented the "Down Your Doorstep" outside broadcast segment on The Big Breakfast.[16] He subsequently hosted the show and, in 1999, went on to present a revived version of the 1970s gameshow It's a Knockout on Channel 5.[19] He also toured the country hosting Graham Fisher's International Knockout for corporate and charity events.[20]

In 2000 Chegwin presented his own internet TV show, where his daily audience for the seven-week trial reached over 250,000. Chegwin presented the Yorkshire Television-made Channel 5 nudist gameshow Naked Jungle, appearing naked except for a hat. He identified making the show as "the worst career move" in his life.[21][19]

Chegwin worked for seven years on GMTV. In 2006 he appeared as himself in an episode of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's comedy series Extras.[21] Chegwin frequently wrote jingles for the Chris Moyles Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 1.[22] For seven years he ran his own web based bingo site Cheggersbingo.[23]

In 2007 Chegwin voiced and starred in the quiz-based video game Cheggers Party Quiz, in which a CGI version of himself acts as a quizmaster. The game was developed by Oxygen Interactive and released on Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, and PC.[24] The game was met with mixed reviews.[25][26]

In November 2011 Chegwin played himself in the comedy horror film Kill Keith.[27] He made an appearance in Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's comedy series Life's Too Short with Shaun Williamson and Les Dennis. In August 2012, he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Reality TV Awards.[28][29]

Chegwin was originally set to take part in the seventh series of Dancing on Ice, but he was forced to withdraw after breaking three ribs and fracturing his shoulder on the first day of training with Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.[30] Chegwin joined the eighth series of Dancing on Ice partnered with Olga Sharutenko. Chegwin was eliminated on 17 February 2013.[30] From October 2013 to January 2014, he played the part of Drosselmeyer in the 'Nutcracker On Ice' with Imperial Ice Stars from Russia at the London Palladium.[31]

On 19 October 2013 he took part in a celebrity episode of The Chase. In September 2014 he was a contestant on BBC1's Pointless Celebrities show.[32]

In 2015 he took part in the fifteenth series of Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5. On 6 February, he finished in fourth place.[33] He took part in the 2015 series of Celebrity MasterChef, won by Kimberly Wyatt of the Pussycat Dolls.[34] In the same year he made a cameo appearance as himself in BBC Two's comedy-drama A Gert Lush Christmas where he is revealed to be a friend of Tony (Greg Davies). He also hosted the 2015 BAFTA television and film industry awards.[35]

In later years Chegwin was a popular pantomime dame and in March 2016 appeared in the Easter pantomime tour of Beauty and the Beast.[36][8]

Personal life[edit]

From 1982 to 1993, Chegwin was married to presenter Maggie Philbin with whom he had a daughter, Rose.[37] He later married Maria Anne Fielden; they had a son, Ted.[38]

DJ Janice Long (1955–2021) was his older sister.[35][39] He also had a twin brother, Jeff, with whom he attended stage school and whose son, Hugo Chegwin, co-created and starred in BBC Three mockumentary sitcom People Just Do Nothing.[40][41] He regularly made public appearances around the UK and was involved in charity work.[42]

Chegwin and his wife lived in Ashmansworth, Hampshire[43] but moved to a country home in the area of Shropshire between Whitchurch and Wem, partly because they wanted to be closer to family further north.[44]

Death[edit]

In a 2001 interview, Chegwin said he smoked 60 cigarettes a day.[45] He died at his home in Shropshire on 11 December 2017, having been ill with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung disease, for an extended period.[46] He was 60 years old.[47]

Filmography[edit]

Source: [48]

Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Troublesome Double Egghead Wentworth
1970 Egghead's Robot Paul 'Egghead' Wentworth
1971 Macbeth Fleance
1973 The Optimists of Nine Elms Georgie Uncredited
1975 Robin Hood Junior Robin
1999 Whatever Happened to Harold Smith? Hugh Pimm
2000 House! Keith Chegwin
2001 Tabloid Keith Chegwin [49]
2001 The 51st State Curtis Warren
2004 Shaun of the Dead Keith Chegwin Voice
2011 Kill Keith Keith Chegwin

Works[edit]

  • Chegwin, Keith (1995). Shaken But Not Stirred. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-63978-8. (autobiography)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hayward, Anthony (11 December 2017). "Keith Chegwin obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  2. ^ Millar, Paul (20 November 2011). "Keith Chegwin: 'Phil Collins let me sing his first song'". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  3. ^ Staff. "Keith Chegwin: Filmography". bfi.org.uk. British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  4. ^ Lorna Hughes (11 December 2017). "Keith Chegwin dies aged 60". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  5. ^ James Rampton (11 December 2017). "Keith Chegwin was an integral part of the golden age of children's television". The Independent. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  6. ^ Hogan, Michael (11 December 2017). "Keith Chegwin was the clown prince of children's TV – he brought a whole generation together". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  7. ^ Administrator, journallive (10 May 2005). "Changing face of the catalogue". Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Actor and television presenter Keith Chegwin dies aged 60". 11 December 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Keith Chegwin - I'll Never Fall In Love Again" – via www.45cat.com.
  10. ^ a b "Keith Chegwin tipped to win Celebrity Big Brother - Liverpool Echo". 7 January 2015. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  11. ^ Brightwell, Eric. "Kenny – Biography". Amoeba Music. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  12. ^ Radio City Archived 23 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine. North West Radio website, viewed 1 July 2007.
  13. ^ "Tony Blackburn remembers Keith Chegwin: We were like brothers". Express and Star. 11 December 2017. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Newspaper Report". Southportreporter.com. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  15. ^ "BBC Cult TV". BBC.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  16. ^ a b "Keith Chegwin – a career in clips". The Guardian. 11 December 2017. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  17. ^ Chegwin, Keith (March 1995). Shaken But Not Stirred. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-63978-8.
  18. ^ "TVARK". TVARK. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  19. ^ a b "TV Presenter Keith Chegwin Dies Aged 60". ITV. 11 December 2017. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017.
  20. ^ "Summer's begun. Graham Fisher's International Knockout". Keith Chegwin on Twitter. 14 May 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  21. ^ a b Levine, Nick (20 November 2007). "Television – Interview – Keith Chegwin". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 27 March 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
  22. ^ "Keith Chegwin's Lemonade Bottle Jingle". Chris Moyles. 16 October 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  23. ^ Hannah Ellis-Petersen (11 December 2017). "Keith Chegwin, TV presenter dies aged 60". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  24. ^ "Cheggers Party Quiz launches today". Belfast Telegraph. 26 October 2007.
  25. ^ "Reviews and News Articles - GameRankings". Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  26. ^ "Cheggers Party Quiz (Wii) – Product reviews and consumer advice". www.ciao.co.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  27. ^ "a comedy horror movie". Kill Keith. Archived from the original on 17 October 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  28. ^ "National Reality TV Awards 2012 – Winners Announced" Archived 14 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine, National Reality TV Awards; accessed 11 December 2017.
  29. ^ "Les Dennis, Shaun Williamson, Chegwin for 'Life's Too Short' return" Archived 2 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine, DigitalSpy.co.uk, 28 August 2012.
  30. ^ a b Gregory, Chris (6 January 2013). "Keith Chegwin gets his skates on for ITV's Dancing on Ice". Basingstoke Gazette. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013.
  31. ^ "Ice rink returns to London Palladium for The Nutcracker". BBC News. 29 June 2013. Archived from the original on 2 July 2013.
  32. ^ "Pat Sharp teams with Dave Benson-Phillips for Pointless Celebrities". Digital Spy. 25 July 2014. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015.
  33. ^ "Housemate profile – Keith Chegwin" Archived 9 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Celebrity Big Brother website; retrieved 9 January 2015.
  34. ^ Nissim, Mayer (13 May 2015). "Rylan Clark, Sarah Harding and Chesney Hawkes join Celebrity MasterChef". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 14 May 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  35. ^ a b "Keith Chegwin dead aged 60". Radio Times. 11 December 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  36. ^ "Beauty and the Beast – Whitley Bay Playhouse". The Reviews Hub. Archived from the original on 29 March 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  37. ^ "Maggie Philbin hails ex-husband Keith Chegwin as a 'one-off' after his death aged 60". Leicester Mercury. 11 December 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  38. ^ "TV presenter Keith Chegwin dies aged 60". Sky News. 11 December 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  39. ^ Miles, Tina (8 January 2015). "Nine things you didn't know about #CBB2015 star Keith Chegwin". Liverpool Echo. Archived from the original on 1 August 2017.
  40. ^ Duncan, Amy (12 December 2017). "Who are Maggie Philbin and Rose Chegwin? A look at Keith Chegwin's family". Metro. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  41. ^ Duggins, Alexi (20 August 2016). "People Just Do Nothing: 'We're the Beatles of Brentford'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  42. ^ "Keith Chegwin Dies Aged 60 – And How He Lent His Support to a Buckingham Charity This Spring". Buckingham Today. 11 December 2017. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  43. ^ "Keith Chegwin gets his skates on for ITV's Dancing on Ice". Basingstoke Gazette.
  44. ^ "Keith Chegwin: Popular TV presenter on his love for Shropshire". Shropshire Star. Archived from the original on 25 February 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  45. ^ Theroux, Louis (3 November 2001). "Louis Theroux meets Keith Chegwin: the show must go on" – via www.theguardian.com. I was struck by Keith’s face, how weathered he looked, and also the fact that Keith smoked throughout the interview. Didn’t just smoke, but smoked hard, caving his cheeks as he sucked out every last bit of smoke.
  46. ^ "TV's Keith Chegwin dies aged 60". BBC News. 11 December 2017. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  47. ^ "Keith Chegwin dies aged 60 at Shropshire home". Shropshire Star. 11 December 2017. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017.
  48. ^ "Keith Chegwin". BFI.
  49. ^ "Tabloid - Production & Contact Info". pro.imdb.com. Retrieved 29 December 2021.

External links[edit]