Wednesday, 31 August 2016


Cartoonist entertainer

Roy Lance (Gordon Roylance) and his cartoons from the Rhyl Leader newspaper have featured previously in this blog. Recently, via his grand-daughter Dawn Brown, I made contact with his daughter Antoinette known as Toni who has supplied the material in this post.

Roy was born in 1922 in Padgate near Warrington. He left school aged 15, went to work for The Warrington Guardian as a cub reporter and started to draw cartoons for the paper. This developed into an act and he was known locally as ‘The Boy Wonder Singing Cartoonist’. With the money he earned he put himself through art school.

Cartoonist entertainer

Roy and his wife Irene (née Thompson) met as young teens – she was also from Warrington. During World War 2 Roy was based at RAF Cosford. He wasn’t able to fly because of his colour blindness so he did art work at the base and was put in charge of entertainment. Irene was a dancer and choreographer. The couple married after the war ended.

Here is Roy (sporting a fashionable but temporary moustache) with Irene in 1950:
Cartoonist entertainer, Irene Thompson

Toni says, “They had their honeymoon in a bungalow at Sandy Cove in Kinmel Bay, and liked the area so much they subsequently bought a bungalow in Foryd Road, which is where I was born, and in 1961 they had a house built on a plot of land further up the road in Moelwyn Avenue North where they lived until my dad died in 2006.”

In addition to doing cartoons and art work, Roy became a variety artist who did summer seasons and pantomimes in many places. Toni says, “He was a great comedian. He did a wonderful Charlie Chaplin impersonation and sang too as he drew his cartoons on stage.”

Cartoonist entertainer

In Rhyl, Roy did several summer seasons at the Coliseum on the prom (before and after it was roofed) and several more in 1960s at Derbyshire Miners’ camp in Marsh Road, sometimes working evenings at the Robin Hood camp as well.

As a versatile performer he was a good choice for parts in pantomimes – including Dame.
Pantomime dame

Roy spent two years as the resident comedian/compère at The Cabaret Club in Manchester, and in the late 60s he did regular summer variety shows in Llandudno where he was very popular:

Over the decades, Roy’s other venues for summer seasons and pantos included Bridlington, Cleveleys, Filey, Morecambe, New Brighton, Pwlleli, Scarborough, St. Anne’s-on-the-Sea, Swinton near Manchester, Westcliff-on-Sea and Whitby, to name just a few.

Toni says, “He had many friends in show business, working with many of them over the years - people such as Bruce Forsyth, Frankie Howerd and Ken Dodd. When Morecambe and Wise made their only Rhyl appearance in the mid ‘60s my Dad compèred the show.”

Cartoonist entertainer

So there he is. The late, great Roy Lance – cartoonist, caricaturist, singer, impressionist, comedian, joke writer, compère, performer and producer. Thanks for the information Toni, I was wondering about Roy and I’m much the wiser now.

The following names are added here for indexing purposes:
Robinson Cleaver, Clive Stock, Norma Hughes, Willie Wyse, The Mintings, Roy Minting, Andrea Wardale, Paul Leonard, Vince Rita Starr, Bernadette Corlett, Lesley Anne Riding, Jimmy Webster, Albert Tinkler, Brian Elliot.

MON 16th JUL 2018 UPDATE: Recently auctioned on Internet was a programme for the Morecambe and Wise appearance at Rhyl Pavilion.
Brian Pendleton told me that he was there that night and the theatre was only half full even though M&W had a TV series at the time.
On the bill were Fred & Audrey Atkins (ventriloquism), Burden and Moran (magic) and the Petter Sisters about whom I can find no info.
Roy Lance is listed as "our resident compere" and certainly earned his money that night – he trod the boards four times.
The auction item failed to fetch much more than £20, perhaps because of the dodgy-looking signature and the fact that Morecambe is spelled wrongly throughout.

Click on the image to see a bigger version.

Ernie Morcambe and Eric Wise, eh? I wonder if that double blooper was mentioned in their act that night – or in Roy's!