Theatre school founder and stage stalwart Dennis dies

From 1966, Leslie Tyson (Njegus), Dennis Murtaugh (Danilo) Harry Mayor (Baron Zeta ) (s)
From 1966, Leslie Tyson (Njegus), Dennis Murtaugh (Danilo) Harry Mayor (Baron Zeta ) (s)
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A leading light in Burnley’s amateur dramatics scene has died peacefully in his sleep in Blackpool.

Former Burnley Express columnist Dennis Murtaugh (80) was the founder of the highly-acclaimed Basic Junior Theatre School which has thrilled audiences throughout East Lancashire.

Dennis Murtaugh

Dennis Murtaugh

A larger-than-life character, Dennis starred in countless productions at Burnley Mechanics. He was a member of The Garrick, Burnley Light Opera Society and St Stephen’s.

He experienced TV fame in the 1970s appearing on ‘The Comedians’ alongside a host of famous comics such as Norman Collier, Frank Carson, Ken Goodwin, Jimmy Cricket, Jim Bowen and Stan Boardman.

As founder of Basics he helped develop hundreds of youngsters including West End stage star Andrew Derbyshire, from premises on Plumbe Street.

He took over the popular Stage Gossip column in the Express in 1990 and reviewed hundreds of shows.

He was married to Sally, who worked with Dennis at Basics .