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Archive: 30 years of Desmond’s at Theatre Peckham

Trix Worrell and orginal cast come out to celebrate 30 years of Desmond’s at Theatre Peckham

We’ve going through our archives and wanted to share our incredible event from January 2019, when Theatre Peckham marked 30 years since the very first episode of the much-loved sitcom Desmond’s first aired on Channel 4. It was a sell-out celebration evening of events and performances, featuring a star cast and the Young Company from Theatre Peckham.

The evening provided an opportunity to celebrate the theatre’s continued commitment to supporting young artists, offering a platform for the young company to act on stage in collaboration with the professional cast.

At the event, Trix Worrell said: “The evening has moved me beyond words. The inclusive remit and the strong sense of community at Theatre Peckham was there for all to see. The performance of Desmond’s by the youth theatre members blended seamlessly into the professional actors’ reading of the first ever episode. I saw young people, none of whom were born when it first aired, capture the spirit of the show and make it their own.”

Roy Alexander Weise (Nine Night) directed a reading of the very first episode with a cast including Cyril NriMartina Laird, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Elliot Barnes-Worrell, Sope Dirisu, Richie Campbell, Malachi Kirby, Ria Zmitrowicz, Ayesha Antoine and Chris Tummings.

Audiences were also treated to a special on stage Q&A with show creator Trix Worrell, original cast members Kimberly Walker, Matilda Thorpe and Lisa Geoghan and producer Paulette Randall. The panel was hosted by Prince of Peckham founder Clement Ogbonnaya.

With 71 episodes, Worrell’s hilarious comedy set in Peckham became Channel 4’s longest running sitcom in terms of episodes. It followed the everyday lives of Desmond Ambrose’s (originally played by Norman Beaton’s) family and barbershop, where the patrons come more for the conversation than for the haircuts. The show revolutionised British television by introducing a black cast to the predominantly white sitcom formula.

You can watch highlights of the evening here: