Tim Brooke-Taylor: Cleese, Fry and more pay tribute to comedy ‘hero’

John Cleese, Stephen Fry and David Mitchell have paid tribute to “wonderful comedian” Tim Brooke-Taylor after his death at the age of 79.

Cleese, who co-starred with Brooke-Taylor in the 1960s and 70s, said he was “a great performer and companion”.

Fry described him as “a hero for as long as I can remember”, while Mitchell said “the world has been robbed”.

The former member of 1970s sketch trio The Goodies died on Sunday after contracting coronavirus.

Cleese, who met the comedian at Cambridge University and went on to appear with him on stage and screen, said the news meant he had “just lost the will to be silly”.

Fry added that Brooke-Taylor was “gentle, kind, funny, wise, warm, but piercingly witty when he chose to be”.

Mitchell, who appeared alongside Brooke-Taylor on BBC Radio 4’s panel show I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, described him as “a wonderful comedian and a really lovely man”.

The surviving members of The Goodies mourned their co-star. Bill Oddie remembered him as “a true visual comic and a great friend”, while Graeme Garden said he was “terribly saddened by the loss of a dear colleague and close friend of over 50 years”.

The madcap sketch show began in 1970 and ran for 12 years, bringing the trio prime-time TV success.

Brooke-Taylor had previously starred with Garden, Oddie and Cleese, among others, on BBC radio comedy I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again in the 1960s.

Image caption

Brooke-Taylor (right) with I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again co-stars including John Cleese (second left)

That later led to Radio 4’s long-running I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. Brooke-Taylor appeared on the first edition in 1972 and remained a regular guest.

The show’s host Jack Dee said Brooke-Taylor was “a delightful man and never anything but great company”.

He said: “Tim brought a unique quality to Clue. He was a proper team player, very generous as a performer, never egotistical and always more than delighted to set himself up as the butt of the joke.

“For me, his great comedy gift was playing the injured innocent and he did it with brilliance and a characteristic lightness of touch.

“It’s always heartbreaking to lose a loved one, but these times have created the cruellest of circumstances for that to happen in and my thoughts are with his wife Christine and all his family.”

Image caption

The Goodies – Brooke-Taylor, Garden and Oddie – on their famous “trandem”

One of his biggest contributions to British comedy was co-writing and performing the famous Four Yorkshiremen sketch with John Cleese, Chapman and Marty Feldman, originally for the ITV comedy programme At Last The 1948 Show!

A host of other figures from comedy and TV paid tribute on social media.

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