Tributes paid to ‘genius’
Tributes have been paid to “a monumental man of comedy” Eric Sykes following his death at the age of 89.
Comedian Ken Dodd said that Mr Sykes was “a joy to be with, a wonderful man to know... a genius at creating comedy.
“He found laughter in anything. More than anything else, he loved everybody and everybody loved him,” he said.
“He was never cruel or nasty with his comedy. He was a wonderfully creative man and internationally famous.
“He worked with the great stars but never got big-headed. He was brave and courageous, wanting to work despite the difficulty with his hearing and sight.”
Sir Bruce Forsyth called the “gentle” Oldham-born star “one of the greats of comedy in this country. He was universally loved here... He was just one of the funniest men ever in comedy.”
Actor Bernard Cribbins, who starred in two of Mr Sykes’s comedy shorts, The Plank (1979) and It’s Your Move (1969), also paid tribute.
“He will be very sadly missed,” he said. “I just wish him a lot of rest up there with all the other comics, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. They will all be up there, having a laugh together.”
Mr Cribbins, whose earliest recollection of Mr Sykes is of the star doing a “one-legged darts player routine in the middle of the street”, added: “There was a strange, quirky, off-beat quality to his writing.”
Comedy writer Eddie Braben said Mr Sykes “was a monumental man of comedy, an inspirational figure for those who aimed for comedy success and a fine hero of comedy.
“He leaves an enormous gap in the field of fun,” he said. “His was the comedy of innocence.
“He didn’t raise any bruises, only laughter.”
TV star Michael Palin said that Mr Sykes “was one of the nicest, most decent men in the business and one of a kind. To me, he was a great inspiration, both as a writer and performer.”