It was my intention to start this new website with an exclusive new interview with Eric Chappell. I had planned a trip back to the UK in June with the hope of arranging a meeting with Eric but, sadly, he passed away on April 21, 2022 in Gratham, he was 88.
Michael Coveney wrote a fitting tribute to Eric in the Guardian, here’s a link: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2022/apr/25/eric-chappell-obituary
In turn, I posted my short tribute to Eric in the comments.
Back in the early 90s, I reached out to Eric Chappell as I was planning a commemorative magazine based on Rising Damp. Eric was so amused that he had found another fan that he was incredibly supportive of my venture and provided as much as he could, including the script of his favourite Rising Damp episode, All Our Yesterdays – this was his first deviation from The Banana Box. In an interview I did with him years back for my magazine, he wrote, “I thought if I could complete this one I could write the series.” He did, and then three more! And he shared his moral: “Discover what you do best and do it.”
Eric created one of TVs greatest comedic characters in Rigsby, the likes of which we will not see again. I think he said it best when he noted, “When I wrote it I thought it was just another show but now it has become part of our national heritage.”
Knowing of Eric’s involvement with my magazine, cast and crew provided wonderful stories and recollections of working on the sitcom. Some still have my magazine and Eric liked it so much he bought another four copies. He even sent me the script he completed for a new stage version of Rising Damp.
I promoted Rising Damp and the work of Eric Chappell for many years on various projects. With a planned trip back to the UK this month, I was hoping to interview Eric for my new Rising Damp archive.
I am truly grateful for his support and encouragement throughout my work.
Thank you for all the laughs, Eric.
Since the beginning of my research back in 1994, many people have been involved in my ongoing research and projects relating to Rising Damp – “Oh…Miss Jones!” A Souvenir Magazine, “Oh…Miss Jones!” The Official Rising Damp Website, Rising Damp – The Stage Play, ‘Unforgettables …Leonard Rossiter’, ‘The Complete A-Z of Rising Damp – unpublished book’.
For this website I’ve tried to include many original items that I privately own, namely the rare Publicity kit sent out in the 70s to promote the new series, original YTV programme reviews, along with a number of original stills and press packs. As with my previously published ‘Official’ website from the early 2000s, all copyright from the script is property Eric Chappell’s, with the video footage now in ITV’s ownership and any third party that may now lay claim to printed / broadcasted items. As such, please reach out to me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to note any copyright missing from the site.
Whilst this list is just a snapshot of those who’ve made the journey with me, many friends and comedy lovers over the years have also provided interesting facts and information related to the series. To this day, my research continues, albeit with more relative ease than the days of scanning the micro fiche at my local library, calling agents, sending letters and scouring second hand bookshops for rare and out of print publications.
Now, 25 years later, I’m back unearthing many gems in my archive to publish here as the most comprehensive guide to the sitcom.
To this day I am still very thankful that Eric Chappell showed such an interest in my project to commemorate Rising Damp with a new, souvenir magazine “Oh…Miss Jones!”, whilst informing me that I was one of 2 devoted fans of the series!
Eric gave up time in his busy schedule to help support me and my research, pointing me in the right direction of useful sources of reference (David Taylor), sending me his script of his favourite episode ‘All Our Yesterdays’, and providing an interview to my friend Zak. He was so pleased with the magazine, he even ordered 4 extra copies…and paid for them!
In the early 2000s, Eric also passed me the new version of Rising Damp – The Stage Play, and wished me luck in producing it…see the Stage Play section of the website for more news on how that went.
I was and still am extremely appreciative of Eric’s support.
THANK YOU to everyone involved in my work, especially to Zak Newland, David C. Taylor (research re-produced with kind permission), Paul Kaye, Derren Litten, Roger Angell, Robert Ross, Richard Webber, Bob Fischer, Miranda Hodgson, Richard Ashman, Leon Hunt.
THE CAST & CREW: Frances de la Tour, Don Warrington, John Clive, Helen Fraser, Judy Buxton, Christopher Strauli, Roger Brierley, Peter Jeffrey, Robin Parkinson, Paula Wilcox, Peter Bowles, Deborah Watling, David Swift and Producer / Directors Ronnie Baxter and Vernon Lawrence. All were extremely kind and co-operative in completing questionnaires, signing stills and forwarding fond memories of the series.
Of course, the passing of time has meant that a number of our beloved cast members mentioned above have passed on. We think of them with much happiness, bringing much laughter to their respected episodes.
My thanks also to Gillian and Camilla Raine who fully supported my project from the start, and sent some wonderful notes of encouragement.
And finally, a very special note to Judy Buxton who, after 20 years, still has her copy of my souvenir magazine from 1995. Upon asking to appear in the Rising Damp Forever documentary in 2016, Judy presented “Oh…Miss Jones!” to the producer! Thank you Judy.
Enjoy the website and please keep checking back as this website will grow and grow as I go through my archive, and please get in touch if you have any information you would like to share on the series.