A MEMBER of comedy duo the Chuckle Brothers has told a court it was “a complete surprise” to hear claims DJ Dave Lee Travis indecently assaulted a stagehand at a pantomime in which they were starring.
Children’s entertainers Paul and Barry Elliott starred alongside Travis in a production of Aladdin in the early 1990s, London’s Southwark Crown Court heard yesterday.
Travis, who was playing “evil uncle” Abanazar in the show, is accused of indecently assaulting a female crew member in his theatre dressing room during the panto’s run. The woman, who was 21 at the time of the alleged incident, had previously told the court her ordeal ended when they were interrupted by one of the Chuckle Brothers walking past in the corridor.
Giving evidence, Paul Elliott, 66, was asked by Stephen Vullo, defending Travis, whether he recalled any inappropriate behaviour by the former Radio 1 star.
Mr Elliott replied: “No sorry, I don’t. As I say, it was a complete surprise.” The comic actor, who starred in BBC children’s TV series Chucklevision alongside brother Barry, said Travis was “very professional”.
Asked whether he was aware of any formal or informal arrangement to chaperone female staff members around Travis, Mr Elliott replied: “Not that I recall, not at all. I think I would remember.” Mr Elliott said he and his brother would have been made aware of such a policy as they were “top of the bill”.
The comedian said he did not recall any particular incident when a female stagehand had left Travis’s dressing room.
During his evidence, Mr Elliott was warned by Judge Anthony Leonard after using he word “we” to recall his time in the panto. “Please bear in mind it’s your memories we’re after,” the judge said. The court heard the brothers appeared in Aladdin as the Chinese policemen.
Mr Elliott said he and his elder brother had appeared in pantos together since 1967 and had been in around 46 in total. He told jurors he thought it was the second one he had starred in alongside Travis.
The defendant previously told the court that Aladdin was the first pantomime he had ever been in.
Asked by prosecutor Teresa Hay if he would have been aware if a policy had been put in place to make sure female members of the cast and crew were always chaperoned, Mr Elliott said: “Nobody told us about it. I would have thought we would have known from somewhere.”
Also appearing as a defence witness, Barry Elliott, 69, described Travis as a “jolly great chap to work with”.
“He was fine as far as I can recall,” he added. “He was fine. He was great. I mean, everybody seemed to get on.”
Mr Elliott said that he and his younger brother sometimes played cards with Travis.
Questioned by Mr Vullo as to whether he was aware of a policy being implemented to make sure female members of the cast were chaperoned, the elder Chuckle Brother said: “Not at all. I don’t remember that, no.”
Asked if he remembered Travis ever “struggling” with a young female in his dressing room, Mr Elliott said: “I don’t remember that, no. If it was something serious we probably would, but I don’t remember anything like that at all.”
Travis, 68, from Buckinghamshire, is accused of indecently assaulting ten women and sexually assaulting another in incidents dating back to 1976.
The alleged offences occurred when Travis, appearing in court under his birth name of David Griffin, was working as a BBC DJ, as a broadcaster with Classic Gold radio, while appearing on Top Of The Pops and while starring in panto.
He denies all the charges. The trial continues.