'A big hole in comedy'

Have I Got News For You producer dies

Comedy producer Harry Thompson, the man who created Have I Got News for You, has died at the age of 45.

Thompson’s hugely successful career also included They Think It's All Over, Da Ali G Show (which he co-wrote), Never Mind the Buzzcocks, the 11 O’Clock Show, Newman and Baddiel in Pieces and the animated series Monkey Dust.

He was diagnosed with lung cancer in April, and had since been receiving treatment at The Cromwell Hospital in West London.

He died last night, having married his long-term girlfriend Lisa Whadcock earlier in the day.

Earlier this year, Thompson said his illness was ‘like a really big hard bastard has invited me outside the pub, and when I get there I find he's brought two of his mates who want a fight as well’.

Thompson joined the BBC as a trainee in 1981 and worked as a researcher and occasional joke writer on Not the Nine O'Clock News. He joined BBC Radio as a comedy producer in 1984, working on The News Quiz and The Mary Whitehouse Experience.

Thompson moved into television in 1990 as a freelancer, where he launched Have I Got News for You. He produced 93He left the show in 1996 to work on other projects. He also produced the pilot shows for Channel 4's 11 O'Clock Show.

Thompson also wrote biographies of Peter Cook, Richard Ingrams and Herge, the creator of Tintin. His first novel, This Thing of Darkness, was longlisted for the Booker Prize.

BBC One controller, Peter Fincham, praised Thompson as ‘that rarity in television - the talented, single-minded, subversive, unassimilated maverick’.

‘He also wrote brilliant books and his biography of Peter Cook is definitive. He leaves a big hole in the comedy world.’

BBC Two controller Roly Keating added: 'Harry was a truly independent spirit and one of the funniest people I've ever known - fearless, endlessly inventive and wickedly observant.
'As a stunningly talented producer and writer he brought pleasure to millions of people, and it's a tribute to his sheer creative energy that he remained active up to the very end. He was a dear friend and colleague and he'll be desperately missed'

It has also emerged that Thompson was due to be presented with the jury's award for outstanding contribution to British comedy at next month's British Comedy Awards.


Published: 8 Nov 2005

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