Peter Duncan (born 3 May 1954) is a British actor and television presenter, best known as a former presenter of Blue Peter and for his later family travel documentaries.
Duncan's early career was as a stage actor, appearing as Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island followed by two years at Sir Laurence Olivier's National Theatre. His notable television roles include work on The Tomorrow People, Space 1999, King Cinder, Play for Today, Warship, Oranges & Lemons, and season 2 of Survivors. His roles in films include Kit Nubbles in Quilp, Kevin in Stardust and a brief role in the film Flash Gordon, with his character dying after a few minutes on screen.
Duncan played one of the leading roles, Jimmy Carter, in the 1977-1978 ITV children's television series The Flockton Flyer.
He joined Blue Peter in 1980, and shortly afterwards it was revealed in a tabloid newspaper that Duncan had appeared nude in the British film The Lifetaker (1975). The BBC refuted that he was ever a porn star in The Times.
He ran in the first London Marathon in 1981 (in 3 hours and 10 minutes) and ran again in the 1991, 2001 and 2012 events. In 1987, Duncan's book Duncan Dares was published, giving details of his daring activities on Blue Peter, from Water Beetle to Hang Glider.
Unusually, Duncan had two periods with Blue Peter, being on the team from 1980 to 1984, and again from 1985 to 1986. During his stay with the programme, he became associated with the kind of daredevil stunts previously popularised by John Noakes, and these continued in his own spin-off series, Duncan Dares. On 20 February 2007 Duncan was awarded the highest Blue Peter Award - The Gold Badge. This badge has been awarded in his role as Chief Scout of the UK.
Return to the StageEdit
After leaving Blue Peter permanently in 1986, he returned to the stage, most notably in the musicals Barnum, Me and My Girl and The Card for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. In the 1990s he appeared in numerous pantomimes, some of which he also produced through his company Here's One I Made Earlier, including Robin Hood at the Lewisham (now Broadway) Theatre in South East London. He has written and directed the Oxford Playhouse pantomime since 2006.
Family Travel DocumentariesEdit
Between 1999 and 2005, Duncan filmed and produced three travelogue documentary series. Each series consisted of six episodes and featured his family embarking on backpacking trips around the world. The family also consists of Duncan's wife Annie, and their four children: Lucy, Katie, Georgia and Arthur.
The first series, Travel Bug, charted a six-month tour of the world. Filmed in 1999 when the children were aged 7 to 13, the series was shown on children's television on BBC1. The next series, Chinese Breakaway, charted the family's two-month backpacking trip across China in 2002. The series was aired on Five and Sky Travel. In the third series, Arthur's trip to India (also aired on Five), Duncan's 13-year-old son was featured as the chief presenter. A one-off additional episode (Arthur's trip to Jordan) followed his son to the heart of the Middle East.
In 2007, Duncan took part in the Channel 4 series The Games. More recently, he has written and directed Oxford Playhouse pantomimes. In 2007, he played Macduff in Macbeth at Regents Park Theatre, London, and filmed a documentary about the Scouts climbing Everest. His one-man show Daft and Dangerous appeared in the 2009 Edinburgh fringe. In 2011 he took part in Total Wipeout: Celebrity Special Series 5 (BBC). He finished 2nd, missing out on the top spot by just 1 second to Marcus Patric, 20 years his junior.
Duncan featured on Pointless on BBC1 in December 2012 alongside Mark Curry. Also in December 2012, Duncan starred as "Muddles the Jester" in the Snow White pantomime at the Regent Theatre in Ipswich.