'Lord Charles' ventriloquist dies
Ventriloquist Ray Alan - known to millions for his act with snooty, sozzled puppet Lord Charles - has died.
Alan, 79, was a TV regular for decades, clocking up appearances on variety shows as well as having his own children's series, Tich And Quackers.
It is thought he stopped breathing overnight after complaining of feeling unwell at his home in Reigate, Surrey.
His agent Peter Pritchard said: "He passed away very suddenly."
Alan had not worked for the past few months because of ill health, and old age had made it difficult to manipulate the puppet.
He was a notable guest on game shows such as Celebrity Squares, Give Us A Clue and 3-2-1, as well as appearing in programmes such as Sunday Night At The London Palladium.
Alan was also among the stars who performed at a TV celebration for legendary comic and actor Bob Hope's 82nd birthday.
Mr Pritchard, who worked with him for 30 years, said: "Technically he was regarded as Britain's top ventriloquist. You just couldn't see his mouth moving.
"He was tremendously well-liked in the business and he had been in the entertainment business all his life."