Hampstead pensioner, 85, who hid sexuality for decades, prepares for drag queen performance

PUBLISHED: 10:18 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:53 19 March 2018

Mr Doran on Jackson's Lane's stage gets into character as

Mr Doran on Jackson's Lane's stage gets into character as "Shirley Blue", his drag alter ego. Picture: JON KING


An 85-year-old former amateur boxer who kept his sexuality a secret for decades is to take to the stage as a drag queen.

Stanley Doran at Jackson's Lane, Highgate. Picture: JON KINGStanley Doran at Jackson's Lane, Highgate. Picture: JON KING

Stanley Doran, who lives in Fitzjohn’s Avenue, Hampstead, grew up at a time when male homosexuality was a crime.

He was born in Paddington when, he said, you either became a bank robber or a boxer.

He chose the latter, going on to spar with 1956 Olympic gold medallist Terry Spinks and featherweight champion Sammy McCarthy.

After wartime evacuations to Wales and Watford he returned to London taking on a number of jobs including acting as a deliveryman for the mob.

But all the while his attraction to men was hidden behind a tough-guy exterior.

“Back then people were treated as criminals. It was depressing. It was tough,” Mr Doran said.

But in a sign of how times have changed, the bachelor is now preparing to perform dressed in a royal blue sequin gown, red wig, feather boa and wedges at Camden venue Her Upstairs as “Shirley Blue”.

Mr Doran, who survived colon and prostate cancer, said: “I’ve always dreamt of doing it, but never thought I could. But if you want to do something, give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose.”

The theatre-lover was coached by cabaret artist Fagulous, aka Niall Hunt, who along with Mr Doran’s drama teacher Rosie Litterick kitted him out on a visit to Camden Market.

“We transformed him from an 85-year-old man into the drag queen diva he is. He’s a natural who knows how to make an audience laugh. I’ve got so much confidence in him,” Mr Hunt said.

On the night Mr Doran becomes Fagulous’s “fabulous assistant” and duets with the 22-year-old singing Shirley Bassey number Kiss Me Honey Honey (Kiss Me).

Mr Doran is taking part in a project aimed at getting older people more active in the community. It was set up with the support of Highgate’s Jackson’s Lane theatre and funded by a Heritage Big Lottery grant.

Mr Hunt said: “A lot of LGBT culture is focused on youth. It’s amazing: this project helps give an older generation a stronger voice. It’s poignant as a sign of how far we’ve come as a society.

“It’s going to be a very special show,” he added.

As for nerves, Mr Doran, a member of the Older Bolder drama group who will not be taking part in a dress rehearsal before Wednesday’s show, said his only fear is fluffing his lines.

And on the lure of the stage he said: “You can be anyone you want to be.”

For more details of the Jackson’s Lane project email

To book tickets to see Mr Doran in A Night with Fagulous visit

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:30

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Ham&High readers this week.

There are more than 3,000 homeless families housed by Haringey Council in temporary accommodation in the borough and more than another 1,000 housed outside the borough according to Trust for London.

Yesterday, 15:23

A woman from Temple Fortune turned have-a-go-hero and chased a pair of criminals – causing them to drop a wad of stolen cash – after an elderly woman was robbed at a Temple Fortune cashpoint.

Yesterday, 13:15

Haringey Police are appealing for infomration after a 40 year old woman was sexually assaulted on a Muswell Hill Bus.

Yesterday, 12:53

Two rogue swans rapidly regretted the decision to land on the Hampstead Heath ponds when the resident swan family chased them off the water and left them “a bit battered” on a grass verge.

Yesterday, 12:51

Westminster City Council has announced plans to bring its housing programme back in house for the first time in 16 years.

Two hundred years ago, while lodging locally, John Constable completed a series of paintings memorialised Hampstead as a sleepy village, then perched past the outskirts of London: the very model of idyllic country living.

Yesterday, 11:16

A reward of £10,000 is being offered for information into the 2013 disappearance of Kilburn man Robert Duff – who police believe may have been murdered.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now