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Mary Corpe - Biography

Gary's picture
Mary Corpe
Mary Corpe
Date of Birth: 
5th May 1958
Place of Birth: 
Brighton, UK
Pan's People
Top of the Pops
First TV appearance: 
25 September 1975 ('I Only Have Eyes for You' / Art Garfunkel)
Last TV appearance: 
29 April 1976 (Silver Star / Four Seasons)


By Gary P. Rose

As approved by Mary Corpe

Mary was born in Brighton on 5th May 1958 . Her father is a former chef who used to work at a top hotel in London. She started dancing at the age of three, having trained at the Bertram School of Dancing in Brighton. She first appeared on stage at the age of seven, when she performed in a production of Hello Dolly at the Theatre Royal, Brighton.  She went on to train at the Arts Educational School where she was chosen to dance in an opera at the Sadlers Wells. After completing her training she joined Pans People and made her  Top of the Pops debut on 25th September 1975, dancing to "I Only Have Eyes For You" by Art Garfunkel..

Following the demise of Pans People, Mary spent the next 14 years dancing with various outfits, including the Young Generation, A-Team and New Edition. As a member of these troupes, she appeared in several television shows. One of the highlights of her career is when she was invited to dance on a Royal Variety Show at the London Palladium  - and had the pleasure of meeting the Queen afterwards. In 1980, she appeared in a dance sequence in the film The Apple and, in 2005, she performed on stage in a production of Summer Holiday at the Theatre Royal in Brighton.

In recent years, Mary has enjoyed working as a choreographer for childrens youth theatre. Her debut in this capacity was Fidder on the Roof for the City Youth Theatre Company. She then choreographed a production of Billy Elliott: The Musical, also for the City Youth Theatre Company, which was performed at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London before transferring to the Barn Theatre in Southwick. Billy Elliott: The Musical was in conjunction with the Brighton and Hove Operatic Society and recieved rave reviews.

Today, Mary  continues to work as a choreographer. She is happily married to a market stall owner and resides in Brighton.

© G.P.Rose / M. Corpe 2011


panfan's picture

Very informative biography Gary, thanks for that!

Suefan's picture

I think you will find that Mary's TOTP debut was on September 25, 1975 dancing to "I Only Have Eyes For You".

Gary's picture

Thanks for the information, Mary's bio has now been edited with the correct date.

panfan's picture

Thanks Suefan!  It's great to have all this help to add all these important little details.  People often ask when was their first/last performance and to what, and we thought it a good idea to incorporate these into the biographies for ready reference!

Lee and Mary Fan's picture

Thanks for adding the information on Mary.

I have always liked Mary and Lee, such a shame their career with Pans People was cut short by Pans People being disbanded for the formation of Ruby Flipper, I think the 1975/76 line up of Pans People were wonderful.

Mary had such a cute face and was a great high kicker, I love seeing her dancing to Going to Barbados, I also think Lee Ward was gorgeous, loved her Disco era hair..........Mary & Lee, if you ever visit this fine website, I would like to say......Thank You for your part in Pans People.

Lee and Mary Fan's picture

Since writing my comments above a couple of months ago, I have really grown to love Ruby Flipper.

Back in 1976, I was sad to see Pans People no longer there and wasnt interested in Ruby Flipper, fast forward a few decades, I am really enjoying TOTP 1976 and discovering just how entertaining Ruby Flipper were ( and still are ) via the re-run of the programme on BBC 4.

Mary would of made a wonderful Ruby Flipper member, I am pleased she spent many years in other dance acts, how I wish there were video footage of her performances with the other acts, maybe there are some somewhere, maybe some research could be done on this?.


Lee and Mary Fan's picture

I think this picture capture of Mary is just wonderful, such a beautiful face and lovely hair.

I had a crush on this lovely lady back in 1976 and whenever I see the opening scenes to the routine this picture capture comes from - Theme From Mahogany, my heart still skips a beat........Swooooon!

cornershop15's picture

Especially for Lee and Mary Fan:

Lee and Mary Fan's picture

Thank You Cornershop.

Oh, Thats a lovely picture of Mary, Ive never seen that one before, Thank you for dedicating it to me : )

panfan's picture

Yes that's a lovely photo, Cornershop, thanks for posting it. Is there a larger version available?

cornershop15's picture

Glad to oblige.

It's another thumbnail-size picture from Rex Features which I've tried to enlarge without it being noticeably blurred. In my earlier post, I was going to say that I hope Lee and Mary Fan finds a better version. It is possible to buy a copy of that photograph but I was told that these can cost up to £10. You'll also find a few pictures of the other RF there - Ruby Flipper. 

I think you have to be involved with professional photography to register as a member. Then you can click the thumbnails and see a larger image. This is a bit mean of them. In my opinion, anything that's more than 30 years ago should be easily accessible to the public. Isn't this the case with downloading music? I don't know much about it but I'm sure that's what I've heard . 

Andy's picture

here is a screen cap which I think is Mary dancing with the Young Generation Jim'll Fix It 1977


This is the end Goodbye no place to go

Lee and Mary Fan's picture

Thank You for adding this interesting picture, thats Mary alright....and looking as cute as ever.

How I would love to see some video footage of Mary dancing with The Young Generation, I am pleased she didnt give up her dancing career after Pans People folded.......good on you Mary!

Suefan's picture

Gets a yes from me.