Diane South - Biography
By Gary P. Rose & Diane South
Diane South was born on 14th February 1946 in Ruislip, Middlesex. She has had a long and illustrious career as a dancer and a choreographer. She started dancing, as a three year old, at a local dancing school where she stayed until she was eleven. She then joined the Terry's Juveniles who had classes in the basement of the Drury Lane Theatre and supplied Emile Littler with Babe dancers for pantomimes. She appeared in pantomime as a juvenile at Streatham Hill with Hughie Green and Shani Wallis. In 1961, she went to the Corona Stage School, where she stayed for a year and a half, and did various plays for the BBC including "The Old Curiosity Shop" and "What Katy Did". She also did the dubbing for a Peter Sellers film.
In 1962 she toured with 'Fings Ain't Wot They Used to Be', directed by Yootha Joyce, and, the following year, she worked as a dancer in the West End production of 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying', choreographed by Bob Fosse. In 1964, she studied at the Dance Centre and appeared with Bruce Forsyth in a musical called 'Little Me', which was written by Neil Simon and took place at the Cambridge Theatre in London. She was with the Jo Cook Dancers when they appeared on the television show "Thank Your Lucky Stars".
Then she joined the Beat Girls for the BBC programme "The Beat Room", which ran from 20th July to 31st August 1964. The Beat Girls appeared on "Top of the Pops", including a solo by Diane, performing to 'Judy in Disguise with Glasses'. Following this, the Beat Girls performed in a New Year special for the BBC called "Beat in the New", directed by Barry Langford.
In 1965, the Beat Girls did a pilot for a television pop programme called "1, 2, 3" and, in September of that year, they went to Holland to appear on a music show for Avro TV called "Hilversum" with Gary Cockrell. In 1966, the Beat Girls appeared on "The Dickie Valentine Show". Diane choreographed the routines as Gary was also doing a similar television series. The same year, the Beat Girls went to Venice with the Luvvers pop group. They had been invited to dance at a party thrown by Universal Studios after the premiere of Farenheit 451, which was Britain's official entry at the Venice Film Festival. She also appeared on stage with Bruce Forsyth in 'Little Me' at the Cambridge Theatre. In September 1966, the Beat Girls worked on a television show in Amsterdam. Later, Diane worked with a set of dancers from Holland, for a year, and represented Holland in a pop programme called "Hoofdstuk", which was shown at the Golden Rose of Montreux. At Christmas 1966, she did a show with Joan Baez and a programme called "Here Come the Pops".
In 1967, she went to Amsterdam to work on a programme called "Moef Gaga" for Avro TV. Around this time, Diane was working at the Dance Centre, assisting Gary Cockrell. His idea was to have recorded dance routines that could be sold to the TV companies as slots for programmes rather than be tied up for a whole series. In August 1967, Diane produced and performed at RAF Khormaksar in Aden. The show was devised as a concert to entertain the troops and starred Bob Monkhouse.
During the last few years, Diane did more choreography for Gary and sent lots of groups of Beat Girls to various live shows. One group would be touring night clubs in the north of England whilst another set of girls would be doing television in Holland. In 1970, she choreographed for the series television series "Little Big Time", which starred Freddie Garrity, for Southern Television. Diane's other work includes producing a show for a large nightclub in Palma Mallorca and working on television shows for Tom Jones, Sandie Shaw and Jimmy Tarbuck. Some of these shows were choreographed by Diane and others by Gary, depending on his workload as he had other buiness ventures for The Sanctuary.
In addition, she has choreographed various commercials and ad. conventions for Mitchell Monkhouse (Bob), such as Castella cigars, Levi jeans and Golden Wonder crisps. Her last choreographing job was fifteen television commercials for an American Company in 1975, filmed in Portugal. After this, she lived in Hertfordshire with her husband, two children and two step-children. The family recently moved to Suffolk.
© Gary P. Rose / Diane South 2011