Woman alleges her ordeal ended when Chuckle Brothers interrupted Dave Lee Travis

A former stage hand who was allegedly groped by Dave Lee Travis while he was appearing in panto has told a court her ordeal ended when they were interrupted by the Chuckle Brothers.

Former Radio 1 presenter Travis, now 68, was playing 'evil uncle' Abanazar in Aladdin, which also featured Chuckle Brothers, Barry and Paul Elliott, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said she did not report what happened as she thought she could lose her job.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, the woman said she had gone into Travis's dressing room, as she had often done before, when he assaulted her without warning.

She told jurors: "I was about to go and he was suddenly behind me.

"He's a big chap and he engulfed me and he had his hand on the door above me.

"He put his other hand down the front of my jogging bottoms.

"He was touching me from top to bottom."

Asked by prosecutor Miranda Moore QC where his hand went, the woman said: "I believe it was over my genitalia. I don't think it went inside my pants."

The witness said that getting out of the door became her 'complete focus' as she struggled to escape.

She went on: "It felt like a long time, but I think it was only a matter of moments before I managed to get the door open.

"He was pushing it over the top of my head. He was a lot stronger than I am."

She said that after opening the door slightly: "I heard someone say 'all right Dave', at which point he released me."

The woman said she was then aware the voice belonged to one of the Chuckle Brothers who were walking along the corridor towards the dressing room.

The woman, who was aged 21 at the time of the alleged incident in the early 1990s, said she rushed away and told a supervisor about what had happened.

"I was really obviously shaken up. Confused and scared and just in a bit of a state really."

She said her colleague agreed that she would not have to go into Travis's dressing room again for the rest of the show's run and they discussed whether to take the issue further.

She told jurors: "We decided that because it was my first job in theatre it wouldn't be me who was going to be believed.

"I think I felt that even if someone believed me, which I didn't, it still wouldn't be me that kept my job."

The theatre later decided that female workers should not be left alone with Travis during the show's run, the court heard.

The former BBC presenter, who is on trial under his real name, David Patrick Griffin, denies 13 indecent assaults and one sexual assault, dating back to 1976 and the height of his fame.

Dressed in a grey woollen blazer and maroon shirt and tie, he listened to the proceedings from the dock with the aid of headphones.

The woman's colleague also gave evidence and told jurors that Travis had a reputation.

"There was a general feeling that, if avoidable, female members of the cast shouldn't be left alone in his company," the man said. "It wasn't adopted as an official policy. It was known throughout the company."


Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.