Grant Naylor Productions co-founder passes away.
10 February, 2017
It is with great sadness we have to report that Charles Armitage, co-founder of Grant Naylor Productions, died suddenly at home on Monday, 6th of February.
Charles was part of a long-running showbusiness dynasty, the grandson of legendary songwriter Noel Gay (born Reginald Armitage). His father Richard Armitage founded Noel Gay Artists, a talent agency that represented a wide range of musicians and film and TV figures in the 1970s and 1980s. Noel Gay clients at this time included Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Chris Barrie, Howard Goodall, Rob Grant, Doug Naylor, and Bernie Clifton and his ostrich.
Having started his career in the music industry in New York, Charles worked as an executive and manager in this field throughout the 1970s, with clients including David Soul and the Drifters. In the 1980s, he moved into musical theatre, co-producing the Tony and Ivor Novello award-winning musical Me & My Girl with his brother, Alex, in the West End, on Broadway and worldwide. One famous story involved Charles counting all the seats in one particular theatre and realizing extra seats had been installed, by persons unknown, which weren't being declared in the receipts. Things soon changed!
Charles then moved into television, co-founding Noel Gay TV alongside producers Paul Jackson and Sir Bill Cotton. One show infamous at the time was Heil, Honey, I'm Home, about Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun in a 1960s U.S. style sit-com. It was at this point that a nearly thirty-year association with Red Dwarf would begin, as first Paul Jackson Productions and then the newly-founded Grant Naylor Productions took over the running of the show in order to give Doug and Rob more control of the production. Charles was in charge of the business side and of course, a founding partner.
By the late '90s, Charles had moved into movie production, with the Noel Gay Motion Picture Company producing features including Killer Tongue, Pasty Faces, Dog Soldiers, Virtual Sexuality and Trainspotting due to Charles owning the film rights to the book on which the movie was based. This experience was a good grounding for Charles becoming one of the producers of the then-in-development Red Dwarf: The Movie - although this project was eventually shelved. Charles, eventually, had an Executive Producer role on Red Dwarf through Back to Earth and was also the Executive Producer and non-credited Producer of the extremely successful Red Dwarf X.
He was also one of several crew members to have a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in the 2009 specials - appearing as a passenger waiting at the bus stop alongside the Dwarfers in Part Two.
As one of the longest-serving figures in Red Dwarf's history, Charles' contributions to the success of the show - and the wider Red Dwarf universe as part of Grant Naylor Productions - will not be forgotten.
We send deepest sympathies to Charles's family and friends at this sad time.
Charles Edward Marshall Armitage (1954-2017)