Writer Rowley dies

Credits include Two Ronnies, Not The Nine O'Clock News

Laurie Rowley, one of the most prolific writers of TV comedy, has died at the age of 68.

He wrote for Roy Hudd, the Two Ronnies, Not the Nine O'Clock News, Alas Smith & Jones, Spitting Image, Hale and Pace and Clive Anderson, among many others.

After a career than included shower-fitting, bingo-calling and shopkeeping, Leeds-born Rowley moved into comedy-writing in the Seventies, by submitting material on spec to radio show such as the News Huddlines.

In 1979 producer John Lloyd invited him to join the writing team for Not The Nine O'Clock News, where his sketches included this one:

Writing an obituary in the Guardian today, Clive Anderson aid: ‘For about ten years Laurie worked with me on my chat shows, coming up with topical jokes and ideas for sketches and other items between the interviews. He did a good line in jokes, old and new, about baldness and hair loss, an area in which he was always slightly ahead of me.

‘To younger writers, he laid down all sorts of rules about gag writing. Don't use numbers: the audience start worrying about figures and miss the joke. Don't distract with unnecessary detail. At all costs avoid "jingles" – the repetition of a word. Remember most people are mainly interested in sex and money.’

Rowley died of a heart attack in his Yorkshire home last month, leaving a wife and two children.

Published: 11 Sep 2009

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