...And it's goodnight from him | Ronnie Corbett dies at 85

...And it's goodnight from him

Ronnie Corbett dies at 85

Tributes have been paid to Ronnie Corbett, who has died at 85.

His publicist broke the news, saying: 'Ronnie Corbett CBE, one of the nation's best-loved entertainers, passed away this morning, surrounded by his loving family. They have asked that their privacy is respected at this very sad time.'

Even David Cameron paid tribute, praising 'one of the all-time great comedians', while Jeremy Corbyn said: 'Ronnie Corbett was a giant of British entertainment who was loved by millions. He will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with his family'

Speaking on BBC News, Bruce Forsyth said today 'one of the saddest days of my life... I'm going to miss him like crazy; I really will. He was so lovely to work with.'

Miranda Hart tweeted: 'Having a little weep at the death of one of my heroes Ronnie Corbett. As he would say "Miranda you can't look up to me".Goodbye from me.'

And David Walliams, who once planned a sitcom set in an OAP home starring Corbett, added: 'Goodbye my friend and comedy idol #RonnieCorbett Thank you for all the laughs. It was the greatest honour to know and work with you.'

Corbett had spent almost 60 years in showbusiness, starting out as an actor after he was demobbed from the RAF. His first stage role was in Cromer, Norfolk, in 1956.

But his break came in 1965 when he was in cabaret at Winston's, Danny La Rue's Mayfair nightclub, where David Frost saw him and and recruited him for his new TV show, The Frost Report, starting the next year. It was on that show that Corbett first worked with Ronnie Barker on skits including the classic 'class sketch' I Know My Place, alongside John Cleese

The two became pals and The Two Ronnies was subsequently created for them, running on BBC One every year from 1971 until 1987. On the show he became known for 'shaggy dog' stories told from his armchair, and often digressing into what 'the producer' told him to say.

After Barker retired in 1987, Corbett went on to star as the henpecked middle-aged man Timothy Lumsden, dominated by his mother, in the sitcom Sorry!, which ran from 1981 to 1988.

Other notable appearances include the films Casino Royale (1967), No Sex Please, We're British (1973), Fierce Creatures (1997) and a cameo on Extras in 2007, when he played 'himself' taking drugs at the Bafta Awards

He was appointed a CBE in the 2012 New Year Honours, but when celebrating that honour he collapsed in a restaurant.

Corbett retired from TV two years later, after spending several days in hospital following agonising chest pains. At the time, his wife Anne, whom he met back when he was working at La Rue's club, said: 'He won't be doing any more TV… He won't be like Bruce Forsyth.'

• Video: Ten classic Ronnie Corbett moments.

Published: 31 Mar 2016

What do you think?

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.