Comedy writer and Harrow’s Barry Cryer dies aged 86

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Veteran comedy writer, performer and Hatch End resident Barry Cryer has died aged 86.

During his seven-decade career, Cryer appeared on stage, screen and radio and penned jokes for countless household names.

Cryer’s family has said that the comedy star “died peacefully, in good spirits and with his family around him.”

A statement said: “It is our sad duty to inform you that our dear dad Barry (or Baz to his mates) died on Tuesday afternoon (25th January 2022) at Northwick Park Hospital, in Harrow.

“However, we’re pleased to say that he died peacefully, in good spirits and with his family around him. He was 86.

“Dad was a talented comedy writer and comedian in a particularly golden vintage. Incidentally he never really liked the terms ‘comedy writer’ or ‘comedian’ instead preferring hack and entertainer, and always thought the term ‘national treasure’ meant he’d just been dug up.He was, in his words, arrogant in his humility.

“He had a gift for friendship (as anyone who still has a landline will testify) and a genius for putting people at their ease. Oh yes, and he made many people laugh. A lot. Over many years.

“Baz was, firstly, a loving husband to Terry for nearly sixty years and a gentle father to Tony, David, Jack, Bob. He was a friend to their partners Jayne, Matt, Garry and Suzannah. As a grandfather Ruby, Tom, Evan, Archie, Hope, Martha and Connie all loved him and more recently, Ruby’s daughter, Isobel, had the good fortune to spend time with him as a great grandfather.”

The statement also thanked doctors, nurses and consultants who had cared for their father, mentioning the names of people from Macmillan.

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His family said a funeral would take place in the coming weeks and would be followed later by a “more inclusive” memorial service.

Harrow Times: Barry Cryer arrives at the The Oldie of the Year Awards, at the Savoy Hotel, London, in October 2021. Credit: PABarry Cryer arrives at the The Oldie of the Year Awards, at the Savoy Hotel, London, in October 2021. Credit: PA

Cryer, who received an OBE in 2001, had a long-running partnership with Sir David Frost, with their collaborations including The Frost Report on the BBC.

The Leeds-born performer was also a panelist on BBC Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue for more than four decades.

He wrote for legends of British comedy, including Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett, Sir Billy Connolly and Tommy Cooper.

In 2018, he was handed a lifetime achievement award for his comedy career by the British Music Hall Society.

Broadcaster and author Gyles Brandreth, a close friend of Cryer, was among those paying tribute.

Sharing a photo of them together on Twitter, he said: “Here we are only a few weeks ago. Baz was just the loveliest guy: funny & generous.

“He’d worked with everybody & everybody he worked with liked him. I shall miss his happy company so much – & his regular phone calls: he gave you a gem of a joke with each one.”

He added: “Wherever Barry went he brought laughter with him – even to memorial services. And he went to lots because he’d worked with everyone!

“He was generous about everyone: a great mentor & friend.”

Stephen Fry tweeted: “Such sad news, one of the absolute greats of British comedy, Barry Cryer, is no more. A glorious, gorgeous, hilarious and gifted writer and performer who straddled all the comic traditions. Universally beloved … farewell, Baz. ”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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