Chuckle Brother gives DLT evidence
One of the Chuckle Brothers has told a court it was "a complete surprise" to hear claims veteran DJ Dave Lee Travis indecently assaulted a stage hand at a pantomime they were starring in.
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.
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, has previously told the court her ordeal ended when they were interrupted by one of the Chuckle Brothers walking past in the corridor.
Giving evidence today, 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."
Mr Elliott, who starred in BBC children's television series Chucklevision alongside his brother Barry, said Travis was "very professional" during the panto.
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 stage hand 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.
Travis, 68, from Buckinghamshire, is accused of indecently assaulting 10 women and sexually assaulting another in incidents dating back to 1976 and the height of his fame.
Appearing in court under his birth name David Griffin, the alleged offences occurred when he was working as a BBC DJ, as a broadcaster with Classic Gold radio, while appearing on Top Of The Pops and when starring in panto.
He denies all the charges.
Travis, wearing a light grey jacket and turquoise tie, listened to the proceedings in the dock with the aid of earphones.
The court heard the brothers appeared in Aladdin as the Chinese policemen.
Mr Elliott, 66, said he and his elder brother had been appearing in panto 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.
Wearing a maroon shirt, dark suit and patterned tie, Mr Elliott told jurors he and his brother had been in the entertainment industry since 1963.
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 if 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."
Asked by Ms Hay if he had any particular memories of the show, Mr Elliott, who said it was his 22nd or 23rd panto, told jurors: "None whatsoever."
John Dean, who worked as a DJ with Travis in his live shows over 35 years, told the court the former BBC presenter was "very friendly" with female fans but he had never seen him act inappropriately.
"There were always female fans," he said. "We tried to keep control as best as possible."
Mr Dean said pens and photographs were organised to "keep the autograph hunters at bay".
He added: "Very often he would pose for photos with his arm around them."
On other occasions Travis would let female fans sit on his knee, Mr Dean said.
"There was always a room full of people," he said.
Asked by Mr Vullo whether he ever saw Travis act in an inappropriate way with a female, Mr Dean replied: "Never."
Former BBC radio producer David Tate, who worked with Travis on his Radio 1 afternoon show in the early 1980s, was asked by Mr Vullo whether he saw the veteran DJ as a "sexual predator".
"Absolutely not," Mr Tate replied. "I don't recognise this description at all."
Mr Tate, whose 30-year career with the BBC included roles as a senior producer at Radio 1 and executive producer on the World Service, said he did not hear of any complaints of a sexual nature against Travis or anyone else at the BBC during his time with the corporation.
"I didn't hear about anything in respect of anybody at the BBC," he said.
Mr Tate, who said he first met Travis in the late 1960s, described the DJ as a "warm, open, friendly" person who would often hug him while visiting the World Service.
"That may be inappropriate nowadays but I took that to mean he respected me," he said.
Mr Tate said he "strongly believed" any complaints of a sexual assault at the BBC in the 1970s and 1980s would have been taken seriously.
Referring to former Radio 1 star Kenny Everett being taken off the air after making "inappropriate remarks" while broadcasting, Mr Tate said: "If an official complaint had been made it would have had to be acted upon."
Jane Wallace, who worked as a "plugger" promoting bands for Virgin Music in the 1970s and later wrote for the Sun newspaper's Bizarre column, told the court she knew Travis from his days at Radio 1 and Top Of The Tops.
Asked by Mr Vullo whether she was aware of any inappropriate behaviour by Travis, she replied: "I certainly have not seen him act inappropriately with anybody."
Asked whether she had heard any such stories during her time as a gossip writer, she replied: "Not at all."
Earlier, a female DJ told the court that claims that Travis groped a carnival princess at the opening of a hospital radio station were "fantasy".
The woman, who worked as a presenter at the station in Hertfordshire, said she watched Travis closely when he appeared as a guest at the launch in the early 1970s.
The witness, who cannot be named, told jurors it was "utter nonsense" to suggest Travis became separated from a group of eight people meeting patients on the hospital's wards.
"He was with his wife the whole time," the woman said.
"I was watching what he was doing the whole time because he was an idol to me. It's utter nonsense or fantasy that anything like that happened."
The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.