Tributes for sitcom creator Lloyd
Actor and writer Jeremy Lloyd, who created sitcoms including Are You Being Served? and 'Allo 'Allo!, has died aged 84.
His agent said Lloyd, who was given an OBE for services to comedy in 2012, died in a London hospital yesterday evening from pneumonia.
Alexandra Cann said: "Jeremy was a great wit and always a mass of original ideas. He had a wonderfully original mind and will be greatly missed."
Lloyd, who was married three times including to Joanna Lumley, created a string of hit shows with writing partner David Croft.
He worked as a paint salesman and a road digger before getting into showbusiness and enjoyed a screen career of his own before devoting himself to providing the lines for others.
He made his film debut in School For Scoundrels and had minor roles in the Beatles films Help! and A Hard Day's Night, as well as classics such as Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines. He was also a regular writer and performer on popular US show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.
Lloyd said he got the job after answering the phone at his agent's office to the show's producer, George Schlatter, who was looking for someone who could act and write.
He explained: "I said 'The best possible person you could get is Jeremy Lloyd and we handle him'. And George said 'Is he available?' And I said: 'I'll just check his book... just a second... he's got a day off from filming tomorrow and he can see you'. I wasn't filming at all, of course. 'Can he be at the Dorchester at 9?' And I said 'Don't worry, I'll make sure he's there'.
Lloyd, the son of an army officer and a dancer, was born in London but brought up in Manchester by his grandmother.
He regularly appeared on the hugely popular Billy Cotton Band Show playing what he described as "an idiot in a bowler hat" and - more importantly - it was where he met Croft.
They teamed up on a short-lived sitcom It's Awfully Bad For Your Eyes Darling, which starred Lumley, before working up an idea based on Lloyd's past experiences working at Simpsons of Piccadilly, which became Are You Being Served?, set in the fictional Grace Brothers store. Its run spanned 13 years.
They worked on further shows such as Come Back Mrs Noah and Oh Happy Band, then struck comedy gold again with 'Allo 'Allo! about the French Resistance, which lasted the best part of a decade.
Writing about their marriage, which lasted less than a year, Lumley said: "He was witty, tall and charming - we should have just had a raging affair."
His third marriage, to interior designer Lizzy Moberly, took place in central London this June.
He said his third bride, who was 49 when they tied the knot, was "beautiful, clever and sent from heaven on mission impossible".
Lloyd was also behind an unlikely hit record in the shape of Captain Beaky which went into the top five in 1980.
The song, which came from the hit album of the same name, was one of scores of songs about the adventures of an eccentric animal band based on poems he started writing as a schoolboy.