Belfast Telegraph

Four candles lit as stars of TV bid farewell to comedy legend Ronnie Corbett

By Catherine Wylie

Four candles burned at the back of the altar as famous faces from the golden age of British television paid their respects at the funeral of Ronnie Corbett.

The entertainer died last month aged 85, having been diagnosed with a suspected form of motor neurone disease.

A service attended by family and friends was held at the St John the Evangelist Church near his home in Shirley, south London.

Stars including Barry Cryer, Sir Michael Parkinson, Harry Hill, Jimmy Tarbuck and Rob Brydon were among the mourners.

The candle display referenced one of Corbett's most popular sketches as part of The Two Ronnies alongside Ronnie Barker, known as Four Candles - or Fork Handles. After the ceremony, Sir Michael said the service "hit exactly the right note", adding: "It was the least showbizzy funeral I've been to."

He said: "He wasn't a very showbiz person in that sense. He was unaffected by fame and recognition. It didn't bother him."

Sir Michael said Corbett was "a serious man, he was an intelligent man", adding that he was a "stickler" for manners.

Sir Michael said of his friend Corbett: "What you saw is what you got. He was modest, self-effacing, he was a brilliant comic, very good actor too, very good comedy actor.

"And as a guy to be a friend of, he was just unbeatable."

Before the service, Tarbuck said Corbett was a "great guy" and added that the atmosphere would be "very sad for the family and for all his friends".

He went on: "He was much loved. Very correct guy, very funny fellow. Disciplinarian - I think that was because he was an officer in the RAF. But he was great company." Corbett's coffin was adorned with white flowers, and the service ended with a recording of him singing Up's The Only Way To Go.

His final words in the song are: "God bless. Goodnight." In a tribute during the service, Corbett's daughter Emma said: "This is undoubtedly the hardest thing I've ever had to do. And yet it is also a huge privilege.

"My dad was truly loved. Yes, by the world - and as a family we have felt that with so many kind gestures and flowers and thoughts - but, however, today is not about Ronnie Corbett the national treasure , it's about Ronnie Corbett the husband, the father, the grandfather and the friend.

"He was loved and cherished and it is an enormous honour to be his daughter. His integrity, kindness, style and grace were ever present and never left him, even in death."

The star's daughter joked about his height. "For someone known for being short, he would stand next to me seven foot tall," she said.

Belfast Telegraph


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