Comedian Tony Hawks pays tribute to Tim Brooke-Taylor

Tony Hawks has remembered Tim Brooke-Taylor as “one of the figures who helped shape the future of British comedy” following his death aged 79 after contracting coronavirus.

Brooke-Taylor, who rose to fame alongside Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden as members of 1970s comic trio The Goodies, died on Sunday morning.

Comedian Hawks, 59, appeared alongside Brooke-Taylor on BBC Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and said working with him was “a pleasure”.

Tim Brooke-Taylor death
The Goodies (left to right) Bill Oddie, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor (PA)

He told the PA news agency: “Tim was just one of the guys really, he just sort of got on and did it. He wasn’t precious, in spite of his working with (John) Cleese and all these people. When I first came in as a younger performer he was very generous and open and willing to listen to your input, laughed a lot, which is always good when working with people.”

He added that Brooke-Taylor “was one of my first comedic heroes, and he became one of the most enduring and consistently good performers in British comedy”.

He said: “I felt privileged to work alongside him so often on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and to have got time to know him off stage as well as on. He was light-hearted and fun, and courteous to all those around him, regardless of their standing in any ‘showbiz hierarchy’.

“I spent a wonderful January this year touring with Tim and the Clue team and I was struck by just how strong and fit he seemed. It’s a terrible shame that we have been robbed of at least another decade of TBT’s cheeky and silly comic persona. We will miss him.”

Tony Hawks British Book Awards 2004
Tony Hawks has paid tribute to Tim Brooke-Taylor (PA)

Alison Finch of JFL Agency said in a statement on Sunday: “It is with great sadness that we announce Tim’s death early today from Covid-19. He was an exceptional client and a pleasure to represent.

“We’re grateful that we have so much of his work to view, read and listen to. In all the time with us and in all his showbiz work, he has been supported by Christine, his wife.”

Brooke-Taylor’s acting career began at Cambridge University where he was president of the famed Footlights performing arts club.

He toured internationally with the Footlights revue in 1964 before finding wider recognition for his work on BBC Radio with I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again.

Brooke-Taylor moved into TV with At Last The 1948 Show, where he starred alongside Cleese and Graham Chapman.

But it was as one of The Goodies that he found international fame, earning household name status in Australia and New Zealand and attracting millions of viewers in its heyday.

Asked about the legacy of Brooke-Taylor, Hawks said: “I think it was really, he’d probably admit it as well, that golden period in the sort of 60s and 70s when he was at the forefront really of a new era of British comedy and The Goodies were part of that and Python. And of course he worked a lot with John Cleese. So he was there right at the beginning, he was one of the figures who helped shape the future of British comedy I think.”

Cleese was also among the many people who paid tribute to Brooke-Taylor on social media.

He tweeted: “Tim was a huge part of my early comedy life. We performed together in The West End, on Broadway, and in over 100 “I’m Sorry I’ll Read that Again”s. And then two series of “At Last, It’s The 1948 Show”.

“He was a great performer and companion. I have just lost the will to be silly.”

Garden said in a statement that Brooke-Taylor was a “funny, sociable, generous man who was a delight to work with”, while Oddie tweeted that he was “a true visual comic and a great friend”.