Peter Duncan (actor)

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Peter Duncan
Peter duncan crop.jpg
Born (1954-05-03) 3 May 1954 (age 66)
Chelsea, London, England
Years active1970-present
Spouse(s)Annie Francis

Peter Duncan (born 3 May 1954, in Chelsea, London)[ citation needed ] is an English actor and television presenter. He was a presenter of Blue Peter in the 1980s, and made a series of family travel documentaries between 1999 and 2005.



Duncan was a student at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, [1] an independent stage school in London. Until reaching school-leaving age, Peter completed his secondary education at Hawes Down School for Boys at West Wickham in the London Borough of Bromley. He also studied with the Open University.

Early career

Duncan's early career was as a stage actor, appearing as Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island followed by two years at Sir Laurence Olivier's National Theatre. His notable television roles include work on The Tomorrow People , Space 1999 , [2] King Cinder , [3] Play for Today , Warship , Oranges & Lemons, and season 2 of Survivors . In films, he appeared as the guitarist Kevin in Stardust (1974), Kit Nubbles in Mister Quilp (1975), the luckless Richard in The Lifetaker (1976), and in a brief role in the film Flash Gordon (1980), with his character dying after a few minutes on screen. Peter starred in an episode of the children's television programme Storybook International as a young master in the tale of 'Cap O Rushes'.

Duncan played leading roles in King Cinder for the BBC as Kerry and as Jimmy Carter in the 1977-1978 ITV children's television series The Flockton Flyer .

Blue Peter

He joined Blue Peter in 1980, and shortly afterwards it was revealed in a tabloid newspaper that Duncan had appeared nude in the film The Lifetaker . In The Times [4] the BBC denied that he was ever a porn star.

He ran in the first London Marathon in 1981 [5] (in 3 hours and 10 minutes) and ran again in the 1991, 2001 and 2012 events. [6]

Unusually, Duncan had two periods with Blue Peter, being on the team from 1980 to 1984, and again from 1985 to 1986. During his stay with the programme, he became associated with the kind of daredevil stunts previously popularised by John Noakes, and these continued in his own spin-off series, Duncan Dares . One of his most remembered such stunts was when the Blue Peter crew put him out on a rope swing to clean the face of Clock Tower (Big Ben) without a safety harness, thus creating much trouble for the BBC. It is documented in Richard Marson's book Blue Peter 50th Anniversary.

On 20 February 2007 Duncan was awarded the highest Blue Peter Award - The Gold Badge. This badge was awarded in his role as Chief Scout of the UK.

Return to the stage

After leaving Blue Peter permanently in 1986, he returned to the stage, most notably in Mike Stott's Funny Peculiar and in the musicals Barnum , Me and My Girl and The Card for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. In the 1990s he appeared in numerous pantomimes, some of which he also produced through his company Here's One I Made Earlier, including Robin Hood at the Lewisham (now Broadway) Theatre in South East London. He wrote and directed the Oxford Playhouse pantomime from 2006 to 2013 [7] He played Charlie Peace at Nottingham Playhouse in 2013 and Jack Firbrace in Birdsong in 2014 and 2015. He played Wilbur Turnblad in the touring production of Hairspray in 2015/16. [8]

Family travel documentaries

Between 1999 and 2005, Duncan filmed and produced three travelogue documentary series. Each series consisted of six episodes and featured his family embarking on backpacking trips around the world. The family also consists of Duncan's wife Annie, and their four children: Lucy, Katie, Georgia and Arthur.

The first series, Travel Bug, charted a six-month tour of the world. Filmed in 1999 when the children were aged 7 to 13, the series was shown on children's television on BBC1. The next series, Chinese Breakaway, charted the family's two-month backpacking trip across China in 2002. The series was aired on Five and Sky Travel. In the third series, Arthur's trip to India (also aired on Five), Duncan's 13-year-old son was featured as the chief presenter. A one-off additional episode (Arthur's trip to Jordan) followed his son to the heart of the Middle East.

Chief Scout

Duncan was appointed as the 9th Chief Scout for The Scout Association in the UK, for a five-year tenure from 5 September 2004. [9] There was some controversy over this appointment because of his only ever having been a Cub Scout before rejoining the organisation as an adult. The number of Scouts and volunteers rose during his leadership.[ citation needed ]

Peter Duncan's five-year tenure ended in July 2009, when Bear Grylls was officially made Chief Scout at Gilwell 24 2009. The handover event featured Duncan and was in front of a crowd of over 3,000 Explorer Scouts on 11 July 2009.

2007 onwards

In 2007, Duncan took part in the Channel 4 series The Games . [10] He has written and directed Pantomimes for Oxford Playhouse and the Cheltenham Everyman He currently produces the Pantomime for the Lighthouse theatre in Dorset. [11] In 2007, he played Macduff in Macbeth at Regents Park Theatre, London, [12] and filmed a documentary about the Scouts climbing Everest. [13] His one-man show Daft and Dangerous appeared in the 2009 Edinburgh fringe. [14] Duncan featured in Through the Keyhole for the third time on 26 January 2019 [15] .

In 2014 Duncan competed in BBC1's acrobatic and circus show Tumble going out in the semi final. He was nominated for an 'Offie' for his performance in The Dame at the Park Theatre. London.

Duncan established The Natural Adventure Company in 2015 specialising in self-guided walking holidays and special interest tours, particularly in south east Europe.

He is also a Patron of British Youth Music Theatre. [16]

Partial filmography

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  4. 50 years of Blue Peter
  5. "Peter Duncan runs the first London Marathon". National Media Museum. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
  7. "Oxford Playhouse | About Us" . Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  8. "Official Hairspray UK Tour Website | Cast - Peter Duncan" . Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  9. "Meet the Chiefs" (PDF). The Scout Information Centre. October 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 October 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
  10. "Observer Ethical Awards". The Observer. 14 January 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  11. "Oxford Playhouse: About Us". Oxford Playhouse Productions. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  12. Brown, Peter (4 June 2007). "Macbeth at the Open Air Theatre Regents Park". Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  13. Scouts fulfil 10-year dream to conquer Everest accessed 26 December 2012
  14. Peter Duncan"s Daft and Dangerous accessed 26 December 2012
  15. Through The Keyhole Series 6
Media offices
Preceded by
Christopher Wenner
Blue Peter Presenter No. 12
Succeeded by
Michael Sundin
Preceded by
Michael Sundin
Blue Peter Presenter No. 14
Succeeded by
Caron Keating
The Scout Association
Preceded by
George Purdy
Chief Scout of the United Kingdom
and Overseas Territories

2004 2009
Succeeded by
Bear Grylls