Comedian And Actor Tim Brooke-Taylor Dies, Aged 79

Tim Brooke-Taylor

by James White |
Published on

Tim Brooke-Taylor, who became a comedy stalwart in the UK, has died following a coronavirus diagnosis. He was 79.

Born in Buxton, Derbyshire in 1940, Brooke-Taylor attended prep school and then Winchester before studying law at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Though he had intended to follow in the footsteps of his solicitor father, he ended up sharing a room with fellow student John Cleese, a coincidence that changed his fate. He joined the Cambridge Footlights Club and met the likes of Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, plus future Python Graham Chapman. While none of them had intended to focus on entertainment, they ended up creating a revue that stormed the Edinburgh Festival before transferring to the West End. A tour of Australia and New Zealand followed, and the show ended up on Broadway.

Brooke-Taylor went to work on a BBC radio comedy series called I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, which launched in 1964. Writing and performing in sketches, it launched his career on both radio and later on TV.

Reuniting with Cleese and Chapman for ITV's At Last The 1948 Show, he co-wrote The Four Yorkshiremen sketch, which would later be adapted by the Pythons and became one of their most famous sketches. From there, he worked with Marty Feldman on his show and a brief time acting in Orson Welles' unreleased film One Man Band.

But the comedy series that would forever sear Brooke-Taylor, Oddie and Garden into the national consciousness was The Goodies, which blended sketch, sitcom, surreality and slapstick with special effects for a memorably wacky comedy series that spawned classic moments such as this and ran for 12 years.

In later years, he became a regular on the Beeb's radio quiz show I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue and provided one of the voices on cartoon series Bananaman. His acting career after that largely consisted of cameos and guest spots, and he was awarded an OBE for services to entertainment in 2011.

His fellow Goodie Garden commented that he was, "a funny, sociable, generous man who was a delight to work with. Audiences found him not only hilarious but also adorable. His loss at this dreadful time is particularly hard to bear." Brooke-Taylor is survived by his wife, Christine, and two sons.

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