Richard Digance

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Richard Digance
Richard Digance at the 2010 Cropredy Festival
Digance on screen at the 2010 Cropredy Festival
Born (1949-02-24) 24 February 1949 (age 72)
Plaistow, Essex, England
OccupationComedian, folk-singer, media executive

Richard Digance (pronounced DYE-jance; born 24 February 1949)[1] is an English comedian and folk singer.

Early life[edit]

Digance was born in Plaistow, Essex (now part of east London).[1] 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,[2] during which time he was inspired by Billy Connolly and Mike Harding.[3]


In the 1970s, he toured the United States. Though failing to make much of a name, he ended up a support act for Steve Martin.[2] He also supported Tom Jones in 87 concerts, and other artists such as Supertramp, Jethro Tull, Joan Armatrading, David Essex and Elkie Brooks.[4]

In 1971, he recorded an LP whilst with the group Pisces, for the Trailer label.[5] It features the moorland ballad "Jack O'Legs" about a 14-foot-tall highwayman.

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,[1] 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.

Digance 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.

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.[3]

Digance also had a short-lived BBC Radio 2 programme titled Another Digance Indulgence, which ran over eight episodes in mid-1987.

Many albums featuring his comic and serious music have been released. His first novel, Run Out In The Country, was published in 1983, and his autobiography, A Wealth of Comedy, in 1999.[1]

He was a regular guest in 'Dictionary Corner' on the Channel 4 game show Countdown, during which he performed comic rhymes before the commercial break.[3]

Digance was the managing director of Creative Results and Sound TV, a satellite channel based on variety, which launched in February 2005.[6] However, he resigned in August 2005, and the channel went into administration.[7] 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.[2][8]

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,[9] 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.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Richard has two daughters, Polly and Rosie.[3]

He is a former resident of Debden, Saffron Walden, in Essex, and in 2020 was living in Salisbury, Wiltshire.[11]


  • Digance, Richard (1 October 1990). Run Out in the Country. Arrow Books Ltd. ISBN 0099353105.
  • Digance, Richard (13 October 1999). A Wealth of Comedy. An Autobiography. Robson Books Ltd. ISBN 1861053010.


  • England's Green and Pleasant Land (1974)
  • Treading the Boards (1975)
  • How the West was Lost (1975)
  • In Concert (1975)
  • Earl's A Winger (1977)
  • Live At The Q.E.H. (1978)
  • Commercial Road (1979)
  • Homework (1984)
  • A Digance Indulgence (1985)
  • Richard Digance at the Fairfield Halls (1985)
  • A Drop of Digance (1996)
  • On a Serious Note (1996)[12]
  • Best of the Transatlantic Years (compilation CD) (1997)
  • A Varied Selection (1998)
  • Guitar Tunes (1998) [12]
  • Richard Digance Compilation (2002)[12]
  • The New Richard Digance CD (2002)[12]
  • Back on Song (2005)
  • Past and Present (2007)
  • This is Great Britain (2013)
  • The Toast of Christmas Past (2013)
  • Golden Anniversary (2017)


  1. ^ a b c d "Richard Digance | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Richard Digance". BBC Devon. 6 April 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Big Interview: Richard Digance". Yorkshire Post. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  4. ^ "The Official Richard Digance Site | Biography".
  5. ^ "Traditional Records Discography - file 3". Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Rejuvenating variety with Sound TV". The Stage. 19 May 2005.
  7. ^ "Variety channel Sound TV off air within year of launch". The Stage. 6 December 2005.
  8. ^ "Gold Badge Awards 2003". Gold Badge Awards. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  9. ^ "Richard Digance - Edinburgh Festival Fringe". Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Interview: Richard Digance". Giggle Beats. 2 August 2013.
  11. ^ "The Official Richard Digance Site". Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d The CD is undated. Date given by Richard Digance himself in an email dated 15th June 2020.

External links[edit]