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The Comedy Genius of John Sullivan

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Jon Aird | 17:37 UK time, Friday, 13 May 2011

Only Fools and Horses cast

Producer of Only Fools and Horses, and long time collaborator of John Sullivan, Gareth Gwenlan writes:

At 1.15 yesterday I was in the company of many distinguished Actors including Sir David Jason and Nick Lyndhurst, writers, musicians, directors, TV executives, and scores of behind the camera programme making talent . We were all there to join the friends and family of John Sullivan and to celebrate the life and incredible talent of John, whose sudden and tragic death has left the world of television and millions of his loyal viewers impoverished.

Paul Nicholas and Jan Francis

 

There were many moving tributes to him as the warm caring family man who held his wife, children and grandchildren at the core of his life.

There were also glowing tributes to his distinguished professional career.

Those of us who had had the privilege and joy of working with him will always have our memories of John’s amazing writing talent.

One of John’s literary heroes was Charles Dickens and we all have the opportunity of reading his works but we are more fortunate living in the age of television where we will all be able to enjoy the fruits of John’s writing for many years to come.

Robert Lindsay

 

Watch The Comedy Genius of John Sullivan Tonight, BBC One 8:30pm. And here is just a small selection of classic moments from the many different shows John created - The John Sullivan Collection.

If you would like to share your memories of John's shows, some of the memorable characters he created, or just what his work meant to you then please feel free to comment below.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    John Sullivan was a comic genius. My husband can recite most of the lines from 'Only Fools & Horses' and has them all on video. We continue to watch the episodes over and over again and find new funny bits in them all the time. He will be sorely missed.

  • Comment number 2.

    There aren't enough words to best describe this sorely missed genius!
    I grew up on Only Fools & Horses and it had such a profound impact on my life!
    With a smile on my face and a tear in my eye all I can say is 'thanks John!'

  • Comment number 3.

    If Just Good Friends was clever, then Fools and Horses was genius! I feel proud to say I own every episode of both! Vince and Del Boy, had this habit of making you laugh with their sharp wit and one liners. For me the only comedy writers that even gave John Sullivan competition was the writers of Blackadder!

  • Comment number 4.

    there's a rhino loose in london is the funniest 2 mins of film i've ever seen true comedy perfection and a true challenge to any new up and coming comedy writing talent, blissfully acted and hilarious, superb writer of the highest calibre i like so many others grew up on the comedy of john sullivan and would laugh along with my dad until the day i started understanding the jokes myself,he will be sadly missed as his comedy to me was like grazed knees and my first bike ride as soon as you laugh along you are part of it, r.i.p john sullivan genius is used too often but your legacy will prove yous

  • Comment number 5.

    Marvellous programme, marvellous man, had lots of favourites in there; falling thro' the bar; the chandelier; Batman and Robin; I would have added, "what's French for duck Rodders?" "It's canard"...............

  • Comment number 6.

    Great show, wish it was on Longer. Never will comedy be the same even now watching comedy on the TV just does not have the spark the charisma and the warth hat yo felt when watching John Sullivns characters a big miss to comedy but has set the benchmark that sadly will never be eclipsed a true legend of a writer.

    Im going to throw OFAH DVD on.

  • Comment number 7.

    Been waiting to see this since it was announced at the end of 'Rock & Chips' shortly after John Sullivan. Some wonderful memories and like with all John's comedies it leaves you wanting more! 30 minutes seems far too short considering the popularity and success of his work. Perhaps a whole night on BBC2 where actors from his shows introduce their favourite episodes could be arranged ? We've seen 'tribute' nights to other shows but I don't ever recall the BBC doing one for Only Fools & Horses or any other of his shows. It'd be brilliant to see some of John's earliest work, like the sketches he wrote for the Dave Allen Show and The Two Ronnies as this is how he began his career at the BBC before writing Citizen Smith.

  • Comment number 8.

    John Sullivan the greatest comedy writer in the World. I remember i was in university and did not learn much from studies and i invested £300 on only fools & horses dvds. Why??? because i wanted to know how john sullivan thinks. Jackie Chan, Michael jackson,Princess Diana,Tom Cruise, Bruce Lee, JOHN SULLIVAN are the greatest minds in the world. Any reasonable and normal person should agree.

  • Comment number 9.

    Comedy won't be the same again.
    John Sullivan's comedys were the best, especially 'Only Fools and Horses' which is a comedy legend and the best comedy I have ever watched.
    He is a comedy genius and 'Only Fools and Horses' always puts a smile on my face never mind how many times I watch a episode.

    Thanks John for bringing us the best comedy shows.

  • Comment number 10.

    John Sullivan greatest comedy writer in the World. I remember i was in university and did not learn much from studies and i invested £300 on only fools & horses dvds. Why??? because i wanted to know how john sullivan thinks. Jackie Chan, Michael jackson,Princess Diana,Tom Cruise, Bruce Lee, JOHN SULLIVAN are the greatest minds in the world. Any reasonable and normal person should agree.

  • Comment number 11.

    John Sullivan is the Number 1 comedy writer in the World. Its inspirational. I am going to be Number 1 in the World in what i do. Thats a promise.

  • Comment number 12.

    John's passing has deeply saddened me and I can't stop thinking about it. I'm a 39 year old male. Anybody my age will understand what fun and happiness this man has brought to all our lives. Only Fools and Horses can never be bettered. I have all the videos and DVD's as millions of us do. I honestly must have watch each of them a hundred, two hundred times or more. Pure genius, the characters supported by wonderful actors and a team of producers.

    I can't pick my favourite line or scene because there is that many outstanding magical moments.

    It is quite clear that John wanted to continue with these characters for many years to come, in one form or another. He lived in every one of them, Del, Rodders, Trigger, Albert, Grandad, Densiel, Mikey Pearce, Mike, Boyce, Marlene, Rachel and so on.

    I don't know if it's possible but with this in mind, Sir David and Nick if you are reading, can't you bring yourselves and all the main figures together for one last christmas special in honor of the man that brought you and all your brilliant collegues fame and fortune??

    He might not be writing the script this time but he will be laughing on the otherside with the rest of us.

    Get to it please!!!

    RIP John, my father will be pleased to meet you up there, he was a great fan of yours to.

    Thank you and god bless.
    Gary Hughes, Bedford

  • Comment number 13.

    Such a very inspirational writer. He seems to have been able to successfully fold in his character, background and craft with absolute perfection - a comedy souffle that never failed to rise. Time to buy the scripts, remove our berets and say 'cheers John, that was bloody great mate' x

  • Comment number 14.

    JOHN SULLIVAN GREATEST COMEDY WRITER IN THE WORLD. I REMEMBER I WAS IN UNIVERSITY AND DID NOT LEARN MUCH FROM STUDIES AND I INVESTED £300 ON ONLY FOOLS & HORSES DVDS. WHY??? BECAUSE I WANTED TO KNOW HOW JOHN SULLIVAN THINKS. JACKIE CHAN, MICHAEL JACKSON, PRINCESS DIANA,TOM CRUISE, BRUCE LEE, JOHN SULLIVAN ARE THE GREATEST MINDS IN THE WORLD. ANY REASONABLE AND NORMAL PERSON SHOULD AGREE.

  • Comment number 15.

    such an amazing talent - comedy as it should be. So enjoyed the tribute programme, although it could have lasted for hours as there were so many memorable programmes. Can any one tell me the name of the music that was playing towards the end of the programme? - just beautiful and very fitting to such a talent. He will be so sorely missed.

  • Comment number 16.

    Neetnpete, the song at the end is the theme from the 1969 film "Midnight Cowboy" composed and conducted by John Barry

  • Comment number 17.

    Please, please, can you not repeat "Dear John"? It was brilliant. One of John Sullivan's best, but, sadly overlooked.

  • Comment number 18.

    JOHN SULLIVAN GREATEST COMEDY WRITER IN THE WORLD. JACKIE CHAN, MICHAEL JACKSON, PRINCESS DIANA,TOM CRUISE, BRUCE LEE, JOHN SULLIVAN ARE THE GREATEST MINDS IN THE WORLD. ANY REASONABLE AND NORMAL PERSON SHOULD AGREE.

  • Comment number 19.

    Yes, all great shows from a great writer.

    But, bbc, who exactly wrote that Vince left Penny in Just Good Friends "at the alter"?? Come on!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 20.

    An inspirational too us all, John Sullivan, he will be missed, but he will never be forgotten

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    Only Fools and Horses is now showing in Australia at 6:30 every evening on Fox Classics. It may be 4:30 in the eastern states, check your local guides as they say.

    http://www.oztvreviews.com/2011/04/farewell-john-sullivan-rip/

 

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