RIP Humphrey Lyttelton (BBC Radio 4)

8 replies
Found 25th Apr 2008
I'm not sure whether I've grasped the demographics of HUKD very well here, but for any BBC Radio 4 listeners it brings me great sadness to bring the news the Humphrey Lyttelton has died at the ripe old age of 86.

The chairman of BBC Radio 4's comedy panel show I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue recently had surgery in an attempt to repair an aortic aneurysm. The latest series of the quiz programme was cancelled after Lyttelton was admitted to Barnet Hospital in north London on 16 April.

Lyttelton hosted I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue - the "self-styled antidote to panel games" - since 1972, appearing alongside regulars Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer and Tim Brooke-Taylor. In 1993, he received a Sony Gold Award for services to broadcasting.

Lyttelton began playing the trumpet in 1936 and was still touring with his band up until his admission to hospital. Best known for the song Bad Penny Blues, they became the first British jazz act to enter the top 20 in 1956. He was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at both the Post Office British Jazz Awards in 2000 and at the first BBC Jazz Awards in 2001. "Humph" retired from hosting Radio 2's The Best of Jazz last month after more than 40 years presenting the show.

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What a shame. I loved that show but hadn't discovered it until last year.

I think you probably haven't - but then, neither have I. Went off radio when I moved countries 20 years ago and never really returned to the excellence of 'I'm Sorry...' My loss.
TBH - a ground - breaking prog that is echoed here - in style and , once in a while, in substance.

Nice call Ducky.

Original Poster

His ability at presenting the show, even in his old age, was absolutely amazing. He stayed witty and absolutely brilliant throughout - pulling off all of his scripted jokes in only a way that Humph ever could. A true broadcasting gem.

There's a quote on his website from the man himself, which says:
"As we journey through life, discarding baggage along the way, we should keep an iron grip, to the very end, on the capacity for silliness. It preserves the soul from dessication."

He truly did just that.

Thank you for that - excellent in all respects.
I hope that I can maintain a healthy disrespect for all thing pompous but a fittng regard for all things worthwhile on this earthly coil.
I cannot agree more.
Genuine thanks for this thread.
Feeling a bit Welsh and therefore over-sentimental this evening but it is good to eulogise those who have done their very best to dispel what I can only characterise as 'poor'and give a damn good example.

Another who will be sadly missed. Remembered more by me for his musical involvement.

The Last Post ........................

A sad loss - was great fan of his jazz in the 50s and went to his club in London - great numbers like Blue For Waterloo.

Since returning to the UK 3-4 years ago, Radio 4 has been my daily companion. Although I listen to it randomly - mornings, bath time, etc - I'm sorry... is one the only two programme I make a point of tuning in to. HL's comic timing was spot on, and I liked his ability to make fun of himself as well as others. I doubt anyone can replace him in that show in quite the same way. I'll miss old Humphrey.

I agree with the sentiments expressed here - really loved the panel show. He was quite unique.
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