Brighton Alternative Panto producer Brian Ralfe dies aged 70

Posted On 11 Mar 2015 at 11:59 pm

One of Brighton and Hove’s most colourful and irrepressible characters Brian Ralfe has died aged 70.

He is believed to have suffered a heart attack in his hotel room yesterday (Tuesday 10 March) while on holiday in Egypt.

Brian Ralfe

Brian Ralfe

Mr Ralfe, who grew up in Bevendean and lived in Eaton Manor, Hove, was the producer of the annual Brighton Alternative Pantomime – renowned for its ribald script and high camp performances.

This year’s adult panto – the Magical Road to Oz – was billed as a production for friends of Dorothy.

It was staged in a town with a thriving and open gay scene in contrast to the repressed era – even in a raffish and liberal Brighton – before homosexuality was legalised.

Mr Ralfe served in the Falklands War in 1982 and stood for Parliament and the council as an Independent candidate in a succession of general and local elections.

He won just 47 voted in the October 1974 general election when he contested Brighton Kemptown.

In 2010 in Hove he attracted 85 votes.

He stood for Brighton and Hove City Council in Brunswick and Adelaide ward in 2007 and polled 152 votes. In Queen’s Park ward in 2011 he won 155 votes. It was never about the winning.

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson on the death of the actor David Garrick, Mr Ralfe added to “the gaiety of nations”. His passing “impoverished the public stock of harmless pleasure”.

Friends and family are trying to repatriate Mr Ralfe’s body and make arrangements for his funeral.

  1. Sean Ridley Reply

    RIP Brian, the Guv’nor. So sad, but you’ve left your mark matey…

  2. Valerie Paynter Reply

    You left one election out!

    He was my running mate in Westbourne Ward in 2003 when we were both last minute candidates for the Liberal Democrats (which enraged the Labour Party that thought it had a deal that no LibDems would stand there).

    I know I got about 150 more votes than Brian (he did not campaign, just put round his full colour huge card flyer and then went to Spain on hols till polling day)but his vote tally was higher than any of those mentioned in the article for other elections. He must have had at least 400…though my memory is imprecise.

    We were meant to be paper candidates, but took enough votes from the marginal to block Labour from taking it off Brian Oxley…. Apparently LibDems do that….take votes from Labour.

    Neither Brian nor I remained with the LibDem Party for long after. His permanent smile will live long in my memory and I am really saddened that his life has ended far, far too soon.

  3. R Clarke Reply

    Dear Brian RIP

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