Geoffrey Perkins, one of the most gifted and respected TV comedy producers of his generation, has died in a road accident.
The 55-year-old was hit by a truck on Marylebone High Street in central London, not far from his home. It is believed he may have collapsed and fallen into the path of an oncoming flatbed lorry.
He was given emergency First Aid at the scene, but was pronounced dead just at 9.42am.
In an accomplished career, Perkins had written and produced shows for Catherine Tate, Ben Elton and Harry Enfield, as well as the Hitchhikers’ Guide To The Galaxy; and occasionally appeared on screen, too.
Jana Bennett, BBC Director of Vision, said: ‘Geoffrey Perkins was an outstanding creator of countless comedy hits on the BBC and elsewhere, and a very distinguished former BBC Head of Comedy. We are shocked and deeply saddened at this terrible news.
‘He embraced comedy talent to create unique programmes which will be enjoyed for a very long time to come. All of our thoughts are with Geoffrey's family at this very sad time.’
Perkins first nurtured his career at Oxford University, where he collaborated with Philip Pope, Angus Deayton and Michael Fenton Stevens at the Oxford Revue. They took a show, Radio Active, to the Edinburgh Fringe, which became a long-running Radio 4 series.
He worked for several years in BBC Radio Light Entertainment, producing such shows as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and is said to have created the Mornington Crescent game for I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.
Only last weekend, at the Edinburgh Television Festival, Father Ted writer Ted Linehan personally thanked Perkins for helping make the show such a success.
Perkins resigned from Hat Trick in order to become BBC Television's Head of Comedy in 1995, where his credits included The Fast Show, Game On, Coupling, My Family and The Catherine Tate Show.
He became an executive producer at Tiger Aspect, the company behind The Vicar of Dibley and The Thin Blue Line, in 2001 and at the time of his death he was producing the ITV1 comedy Benidorm.
Pete Bennett-Jones, chairman of Tiger Aspect, said: ‘Geoffrey was one of the kindest, much loved and uniquely talented people we knew. He genuinely made the world a funnier place. It is an absolute tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.’
Police have launched an investigation into his death and a post mortem is due to be carried out at Westminster Mortuary.