David Mitchell and Stephen Fry remember ‘piercingly witty’ Tim Brooke-Taylor

Figures from the world of comedy and TV have paid tribute to Tim Brooke-Taylor following his death aged 79.

The comic actor, best known as one third of The Goodies and president of the famed Cambridge footlights group, died on Sunday morning after contracting coronavirus.

David Mitchell, another Footlights president, said the world had been “robbed” of a talented performer.

He tweeted: “This is terribly sad news. He was a wonderful comedian and a really lovely man and I feel honoured to have known and worked with him. The world has been robbed – he had years more joy to give.”

Welsh comedian Rob Brydon, who appeared alongside Brooke-Taylor on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, said he was “so sad” to hear news of his death.

He tweeted: “A wonderful man, so many happy times sat next to him on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. Here we are with Barry, Colin and Graeme at a celebration of the show in January. He was on great form. My thoughts are with his family.”

Stephen Fry tweeted: “Just heard the devastating news of the death of Tim Brooke-Taylor. A hero for as long as I can remember, and – on a few golden occasions – a colleague and collaborator on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. Gentle, kind, funny, wise, warm, but piercingly witty when he chose to be. So sad.”

TV host Richard Osman, who also worked with Brooke-Taylor, tweeted: “Just devastated at the death of Tim Brooke-Taylor. What a lovely, funny man.

“He was on such terrific form on the ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’ tour in January. We had such fun. God bless you Tim. So very sad. My love to Christine and his wonderful family.”

Little Britain star David Walliams recalled The Goodies’ influence on him as a boy.

He tweeted: “I was obsessed with ‘The Goodies’ as a child, the first comedy show I really loved. I queued up to get the Goodies’ autographs as a grown-up, and got to meet Tim Brooke-Taylor more recently at a party.

“I was in total awe, but he was so kind & generous. It is so sad he is gone.”

And in a series of tweets, Scottish impressionist Rory Bremner paid tribute to Brooke-Taylor as a “true team player”.

He wrote: “So sad that lovely – and much loved – Tim Brooke-Taylor has died. Always a Goodie, his modesty belied a huge legacy in British comedy – in show after show from Cambridge days on, from I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again to Clue.

“His huge list of credits (many with the great @JohnCleese) is testament to his humour, his ability and timing, his kindness & dependability – a true team player – and a funny, lovely man to boot.”

Giles Coren shared an anecdote from his childhood about Brooke-Taylor.

He tweeted: “Oh No. Tim Brooke-Taylor. He lived round the corner and his son Ben was my friend. I’m one of the few people who ever saw Tim angry, when we hid behind sofas and used his books as hand grenades. He was livid. Then we turned on the telly and watched West Ham win the cup. 1980.”

He ended his tweet with a crying face emoji.

TV presenter Sandi Toksvig tweeted: “Tim Brooke-Taylor was a man I was privileged to call my friend. Generous and kind. Sitting beside him while he made us all laugh was an honour. He will be much missed”.

Scottish comedian Susan Calman also paid tribute to Brooke-Taylor, whom she remembered as a “dear friend”.

She tweeted: “Devastated by this news today. Tim was funny, kind and an incredible man in every way. Sitting beside him on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue was a privilege. Our duets will be moments I treasure forever. My dear friend. Sending all my love to his family”.

Chris Daniels, the director of Bristol’s annual Slapstick Festival of screen comedy, also paid tribute to Brooke-Taylor on behalf of the festival.

A statement said: “Tim was first and foremost a dear friend, both personally and to the Bristol Slapstick Festival. Tim’s passion, enthusiasm, love for classic comedy and, in particular Buster Keaton, meant that Tim and Slapstick Festival were a perfect pairing, with Tim becoming a patron for us in 2008.

“Each year, Tim would tell us that Slapstick was his favourite festival and expressed regularly how much he looked forward it.

“Tim first appeared at Slapstick in 2007 with Graeme Garden and has been a special guest almost every year since – appearing in and hosting countless events over the years. He was with us again in Bristol in January 2020, taking part in no fewer than four events with his usual enthusiasm, passion, charm and energy to the delight of full house audiences.

“Everyone involved with Slapstick joins me in sending sincere and heartfelt sympathies to his wife Christine, his family and friends”.

The landlady of a pub in Cookham Dean, near Maidenhead, which the Goodies star helped to save for the community, also paid tribute to him.

Brooke-Taylor was one of 57 original shareholders who joined together to mount a community buy-out of The Jolly Farmer in 1987.

Landlady Liya Efremova said: “We are all obviously upset here at The Jolly Farmer to hear today’s sad news of Tim’s loss, one of our longstanding shareholders who helped to save the pub over 30 years ago and allow it to continue to serve the local community ever since.

“We would like to express our sincere condolences to Tim’s family and friends during this very difficult time. I am sure I can speak for everyone that knew Tim in saying he will be greatly missed.”

Alongside Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, Brooke-Taylor found international fame with The Goodies, earning household name status in Australia and New Zealand and attracting millions of TV viewers.

He was a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue for over 40 years.