Derby Dead Pool

The online competition to guess which famous people won't make it to the end of the current year. If they're elderly, ill, or just live a high-risk lifestyle, stick 'em in your team, and for each one whose death you correctly predict, you'll score points. DDP was dreamt up in Derby, England (hence the name...) by Big Iain back in 1996, then was run from 2003 to 2007 by Siegfried Baboon and Rude Kid From 2008 to 2009, it was run by Octopus of Odstock , and from 2010 to 2017 by The Man In Black. From 2018, Spade Cooley is host...

Latest Stiffs: 25th August 2018 by Spade Cooley

[Picture of Aretha Franklin and Stefan Karl Stefansson]

You knew we were waiting for them...

lay a wreath for franklin

She was circling the plughole as we went to press for the last update, but now the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is no more. Franklin was one of several young musicians who began a career in gospel music only to switch to the secular R&B style in the early 1960s. Her 60s output was widely seen as the strongest of her career, as she tapped into both the black civil rights movement and the second-wave of feminism, becoming a strong voice for the pair with songs like “Respect” and “Chain of Fools”.

With 112 singles, she is the most charted female act in US Billboard history, and was the first woman inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She also wore a stupid hat at Barack Obama’s inauguration, where she sang “My Country, ‘tis of Thee”. Aretha first found herself on dead pool radars in the early 2010s when widespread rumours suggested she had pancreatic cancer. She spoke of a “miraculous recovery” from an undisclosed illness in interviews at the time, but it returned with a vengeance and she’s finally fell victim to PC aged 76. 28 teams made it through the darkness and are no long day dreaming of points.

Ghanaian diplomat, former UN secretary-general and part-time Morgan Freeman lookalike Kofi Annan is dead. Born into an aristocratic family in what was then still the British Gold Coast, Annan first joined the UN in 1962 as a WHO budget officer. His impressive performance during Operation Deliberate Force, allowing NATO to unleash unlimited air strikes on Bosnia, made him a favourite of the US government. He became secretary-general of the UN the following year, after the US withdrew its support of Boutros Boutros-Ghali. His time at the UN saw a number of major crises: the Rwandan Civil War, the US invasion of Iraq and the war crimes trials of former Yugoslavia leaders. I know this because I helped transcribe some of the interviews he conducted for his memoir “Interventions: A Life in War and Peace”. He died after a short illness aged 80 and was a unique hit for theme team Nobel(e)y Dying.

Another giant of turn-of-the-millennium international geopolitics whose death has been overshadowed by a Eurythmics backup singer and a bloke with a rubber chin was Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The first member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to serve a full term as prime minister, Vajpayee’s time in charge was focused on returning India to the position of leading global military power. He restarted India’s nuclear testing programme and also attempted, without success, to solve the Kashmir issue with neighbouring Pakistan. He had been in poor health over recent years, suffering from diabetes and dementia, and has now died aged 93. Four teams, including theme team league leaders Heef's Politics XX, get the points.

robbie rotting

This is going down in history – Icelandic actor Stefán Karl Stefánsson is no more. Stefánsson began his career as a puppeteer, but will forever be known as the junk food-scoffing villain Robbie Rotten in the kids’ TV show “LazyTown”. The show, much loved by millennials in their youth, saw Robbie Rotten attempt – without success – to take down the hero Sportacus, who explained to Icelandic children the importance of going to bed early, brushing their teeth and eating fruit – known in the show as “sports candy”. Stefánsson was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma in 2016 and became perhaps the first meme cancer patient, as the internet exploded with video tributes and gif edits helping to raise money for his treatment. Sadly, that meme is now as dead as Stefánsson, aged 43. His death shakes up the DDP standings: 89 teams selected him, seeing him chart at #11 on the Drop Forty, and Thomas Jefferson Survives now take first place in the table – despite having two deaths failed to obit. Will he be singing “We Are Number One” on December 31st?

The actress Barbara Harris was never overly enamoured with Hollywood: she tried to keep to one film a year, and even then often picked ones she thought would struggle at the box office to avoid the trappings of fame. However, between her roles as aspiring country star Winifred in “Nashville” and Jodie Foster’s mother in “Freaky Friday”, she earned a spot in the 1970s acting hall of fame. She retired from the silver screen in the 90s and became an acting tutor in Arizona, where she has now died aged 83. She is a unique hit for Lullabye-bye of Broadway.

Tory grandee Peter Tapsell was last MP serving in the Commons to have been first elected in the 1950s, and was also one of the few men in parliamentary history to have served over 50 years in the House. An old school Keynesianist, he was a vocal critic of Margaret Thatcher’s monetarist policies and described listening to her advice as “the biggest mistake” he ever made in politics. His death at 88 means there are no living former Fathers of the House, and Kenneth Clarke should probably go and get his blood pressure checked. Two teams score points.

The 1980s was the decade when we all accepted that the rich and famous were simply better than us, and Robin Leach was there to prove it. As host of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” he took us around the homes of Morgan Fairchild, Karl Lagerfeld and Erte. A 1994 episode of the show also saw “Home Alone 2” star Donald Trump introduce his newborn daughter, Tiffany, before telling Robin that she would grow up to have massive tits. What a character. Leach died after a stroke aged 76 and was a unique hit for Captain Hemlock's Twenty.

Latest Stiffs: 13th August 2018 by Spade Cooley

[Picture of Charlotte Rae]

Well, she outlived four of them...

death rae

The grand old dame of American sitcoms, Charlotte Rae, is no more. Originally set on a career in Broadway, Rae’s knack for playing straight alongside the ridiculous saw her cast in minor roles on some of the biggest sitcoms of the 50s, 60s and 70s: “The Phil Silvers Show”, “Car 54 Where Are You”, “Hot I(n) Baltimore” and many more. It was during her run on the later show she became Norman Lear’s mature muse. Lear went on to cast her in “Diff’rent Strokes” as the straight-laced but loving Mrs Garrett, a show that turned around NBC’s commercial fortunes in the late 1970s. Rae was such a success in the role she earned herself a spin-off: “The Facts of Life”, where Mrs Garrett was now the dietitian of an all-girls boarding school. Long a popular pick for deadpoolers stateside, Rae’s 2017 revelation she was battling bone cancer added her to radars worldwide. She died aged 92, and a grand total of 30 teams take the good, take the bad and get the points. It also sees a shake-up at the top of our standings, as Bucket of Blood and Thomas Jefferson Survives leapfrog the Garrett-eschewing Day In The Death.

It wouldn’t be a DDP update without a centenarian Hollywood starlet who hadn’t acted in 70-plus years, huh? Mary Carlisle started her career aged just 9 with an uncredited role in the silent movie “Long Live the King”, but had to wait until the 1930s – and in particular being named one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars (an industry-approved list of up-and-coming talent) – before she hit the big time. She was best known for playing the fresh-faced ingenue opposite Bing Crosby in a string of musical comedies – “College Humor”, “Double or Nothing” and “Doctor Rhythm” – between 1933 and 1938. She retired from acting in 1943 after marrying an executive producer at 20th Century Fox. She died at 104, as the last remaining WAMPAS Baby Star, and nine teams get the points.

Michael Lapage’s time studying geography at Cambridge was rudely interrupted by World War II. He saw active service as a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm and narrowly avoided death over Asia when the tailpiece of his Hellcat was destroyed mid-flight by Japanese Zero craft. Returning from war he did what any other Cambridge student would do: row, winning silver medal in the 1948 Olympics (although he always maintained the victorious US team had an advantage because they weren’t on rations). He later became a missionary in Kenya, and carried the torch through St Austell prior to the 2012 Olympics. He died aged 94 and theme team The Final Whistle get a unique hit.

Golfer Jarrod Lyle was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia at the age of 17, being confined to a hospital bed for some nine months as he underwent chemotherapy. Miraculously, he turned pro just six years later and earned a PGA Tour card three years after that. However, his career was frequently interrupted by health issues: in 2012 he suffered a severe insect bite, and tests revealed his leukaemia had returned. He defeated it for a second time before it returned, in a much more aggressive form, five years later. He finally heads to the 19th aged just 36, and two teams score.

oh dear. oh dear oh dear

Better known as Barry Chuckle, alongside brother Paul, Barry Elliott sort-of entertained the Great British public for half a century. The Chuckle Brothers won “Opportunity Knocks” in 1967 and also had a strong run on “New Faces” a few years later. However, it wasn’t until they switched to children’s TV that they became household names. Mixing traditional slapstick with a string of catchphrases (“To me! To you!”, “Oh dear”, “No slacking!”) they captured the hearts of under-10s and irritated the shit out of parents for years. Barry was the subject of a string of death rumours over the years, and has now finally died aged 73 just a year after sharing a Britain First post on Facebook. The deep state finally got him. Zodiac's Wishlist get the unique hit.

The obvious follow-up subject from Barry Chuckle, VS Naipaul was one of the most discussed and controversial writers of the 20th century. Born into a wealthy Indian family on the island of Trinidad and Tobago, Naipaul’s work challenged and infuriated critics across novels, journalism, short stories and essays for over 50 years. A winner of both the Nobel and Booker prizes, his work mainly dealt with the lands and people affected by British imperialism. However, he was no woke bae: he detested writing by women (“they are unequal to me”), his writings on Africa saw frequent comparisons to Joseph Conrad (not in a complimentary sense) and, you know, he wasn’t a big fan of the Muslims. So maybe he did have something in common with Barry Chuckle. He has found his own area of darkness aged 85 and two teams score.

A brace of Reagan-era US politicos to finish up on. Paul Laxalt was particularly close to the Gipper, and was nicknamed “The First Friend” in press circles at the time. Laxalt served as the senator for Nevada between 1974 and 1987, a run that saw him accused of conspiring with organised crime families to help skim money from a casino his family owned. He briefly ran to replace his old friend Ronnie as Republican candidate for the 1988 election, but dropped out due to a lack of funding. Probably shouldn’t have given the Mafia all that roulette money, Paul. He was 96 at the time of his death and a hit for two teams.

Departing this world on the same day as Laxalt, Margaret Heckler was the Health Secretary under Reagan between 1983 and 1985. This coincided with the Aids crisis, an issue she struggled to get Ronnie interested in. Heckler was under strict instructions to keep costs down and, while making it the main focus of the health department, confidently predicted that a cure for Aids would be discovered by 1986. Unsurprisingly she was removed from her post and made the ambassador to Ireland for the rest of the 1980s. She died aged 87 and was a unique for The Empire State Strikes Back.

List of the Lost - Latest Entrants

Ronnie Taylor, Gary Thibodeau, Ronnie Moore

List of the Missed - Latest Entrants

Steve Pollard, Stan Mikita, Eddie Willis

Player(s) of the Month - July

You Dirty Rotten Swine, You Deaded Them! - 32 points

Latest News

The family of John McCain reveal he has stopped all medical treatment. Yep, he's oven-ready ... In an interview with South African media Johnny Clegg announces both the end of his latest chemo cycle and a new tour for 2019. Love that optimism...

Further Information

Rules & Scoring

E-mail Spade Cooley with any questions/comments about the DDP:


Derby Dead Pool is hosted by The Man In Black with contributions from Big-Iain, Rude Kid, Siegfried Baboon, Octopus of Odstock, WEP 2.0 - World's Eternity Prophet Reloaded, The Grey Horde, Thomas Jefferson Survives, Bibliogryphon, David Quantick's Showbiz Pals, Dickie's Gone the Way of the Dinosaurs & The End Of The World As We Know It
[DDP 2018]

Current Year

Who's dead so far?
List of the Lost
List of the Missed
A to Z list of teams
A to Z list of celebrities
Drop Forty
Theme Team League
The Obituary Vault
Last Year
Golden Slumbers
(168 points, 16 hits)


A brief history of dead pools
DDP stats & facts

Previous winners

David Quantick's Showbiz Pals (4)
David Quantick's Showbiz Pals (3)
David Quantick's Showbiz Pals (2)
David Quantick's Showbiz Pals
The Living End (3)
The Living End (2)
Octopus of Odstock
 Tonight, Matthew, I'm Going To Be Badly-Torn Boy
The Living End
Meet Your Maker (2)
Meet Your Maker
Fallen Sparrow
Otis, You Want A Treat?
Whittaker's Choice
MT Graves
Drunkasaskunk (2)
Nick J (2)
Nick J