Theatre mourns tragic loss
THEATRELAND is mourning one of the country s leading pantomime dames, who died suddenly last week at the age of 56. Peter Robbins was renowned for playing one of the Ugly Sisters alongside Nigel Ellacott in a partnership that started at the Kenneth More T
THEATRELAND is mourning one of the country's leading pantomime dames, who died suddenly last week at the age of 56.
Peter Robbins was renowned for playing one of the Ugly Sisters alongside Nigel Ellacott in a partnership that started at the Kenneth More Theatre, Oakfield Road, Ilford.
KMT manager Vivyan Ellacott said: "It's such a shock. Peter was such a lovely guy and so bouncy and full of life.
"He and my brother Nigel worked together for nearly 30 years and were known as Britain's top pantomime dames."
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Over the years the double act worked with Brian Conley, Rolf Harris, Rula Lenska, June Brown and Lesley Joseph.
Outside the pantomime season, the pair took their show on the road, in a bid to inspire a new generation of theatregoers.
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They started off by visiting primary schools across Redbridge and performing shows, but as they grew in popularity they travelled further afield.
Peter, who lived in Stockwell, also occasionally acted in shows at stately homes, playing Sherlock Holmes and Lady Bracknell in the Importance of Being Ernest.
Vivyan added: "Peter was so well-known in the inner world of show business and was so easy to work with.
"Peter and Nigel were a bit like Morecombe and Wise. It was a true double act and they were absolutely spontaneous - they would always know what the other was going to say.
"Nigel is still a bit in shock over Peter's death."
Peter died just nine days after he lost his mother. While sorting through her belongings at her home, he complained of a headache and went for a lie-down but slipped into a coma and later died in hospital. He leaves a brother and sister-in-law.