David Carter  – photo Richard Gauntlett

One of the show business world’s most talented musicians and a long-serving member of the Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime team has died.

David Carter had been musical director for the last ten years and had also been musical arranger since 2006.

Stephen Crocker, Norwich Theatre chief executive, led the tributes, saying: “David was not just a wonderful musician and the consummate professional but also one of the most gentle and humble men I have ever worked with.

“One of my final conversations with him was about the joy of pantomime and he gave his talent selflessly to bring joy to others.”

Jane Walsh, Norwich Theatre programming director and panto executive producer who worked with David throughout his panto tenure, added: “David was such a kind and sweet gentleman. He was always smiling even after 50 shows as he led the band, laughing at the jokes, grinning at the cast and really enjoying himself. 

“He was really loved by all the staff here at the Theatre Royal and he really enjoyed being here too. David felt that he was spending the pantomime period with great friends and said that he was always welcomed by everyone around the building.”

David performed in most of Britain’s major theatre and concert venues during his career including the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and the London Palladium, where he was part of Bob Hope’s 80th birthday celebrations.

For over 20 years, he was musical director for Danny La Rue and also worked regularly with Ken Dodd as well as accompanying a range of top showbiz names including Frankie Howerd, Bob Monkhouse, Barbara Windsor, Elaine Paige and Su Pollard.

David was also musical director on many major productions in the West End and on tour including Godspell, A Chorus Line, The Rocky Horror Show, Jesus Christ Superstar, and over 30 pantomimes.

He appeared on a number of TV shows including National Lottery Live and Noel’s House Party, as well as being musical director on a BBC Radio Two series dedicated to music hall.

Richard Gauntlett, who has been part of the Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime for nearly 20 years as writer, director and performer, worked with David for 35 years. He said: “He has always been there as an arranger, a conductor and a great friend. David was a witty innocent with a fantastic smile and was an amazing force within the variety profession. He worked with a number of big names and if anyone wanted an evening of variety, he was the man to employ. He could sight-read absolutely anything or just play by ear. 

“Performers all over the world would have music arranged by him and he just had this wonderful sense of fun as well.”