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Clement Freud

Mark Damazer Mark Damazer 09:24, Thursday, 16 April 2009


It's a sad day for Radio 4 Comedy. He was a contestant on the first episode of Just a Minute in 1967 and had taken part in every series (54 in all) until his death. He began with the likes of Kenneth Williams, Peter Jones and Derek Nimmo and ended jousting with very different people - among them Paul Merton, Sue Perkins, Graham Norton and David Mitchell. And it worked. Part of the charm of Just a Minute in recent years has been the meshing - and sometimes the crunching - of generational gears.

He had style and he had content. Call it what you will - dry, lugubrious, droll, deadpan - it was a unique way of dealing with the show's inherent verbal challenges - and with the other panellists. And his richly varied life gave him a reservoir of knowledge from which he could pull out stories, one-liners, anecdotes, aphorisms and quotations. He was a very clever man indeed.

At a recent dinner for the Just a Minute team he was vivid, funny and gossipy and held forth with gusto. He told everyone he hugely enjoyed the programme. The audience hugely enjoyed him on the programme. When I became Controller of Radio 4 he was one of the first people to phone me up. We had not met. His opening line was "I am a very young man you know and I intend to go on for decades." He didn't quite achieve that - but he remained a terrific asset to Radio 4 throughout. He will be missed.


  • Comment number 1.

    "There have been no comments made here yet."
    Well, I'll have to correct that!

    I, too, shall miss Clement Freud. He was a unique and wonderful character. His memory will live on


    Keep radio radio! (and fix the r4 website)

  • Comment number 2.

    As a player of Just a Minute he was charming, effusive, eloquent, informative, well-versed in all manner of subjects, intelligent, of broad-ranging knowledge, grandiloquent, unsurpassed, unrivalled, incisive, entertaining, humourous, funny ...

  • Comment number 3.

    The only man I can recall that advertised Dog Food where I felt more sorrow for the man than the dog!.

    From his appearances in JaM I learned a lot about subjects I never knew I knew nothing about until he enlightened me.

    Sorely missed.

    Condolences to his nearest and dearest.

  • Comment number 4.

    I was perusing his life story and the excellent Arena documentary about 'Just A Minute' only recently.

    One suspects he could easily have lived to be a 101 if he had taken the dull route of early nights, low-calorie food and abjured the grape - but where is the fun in that ??

    A tremendous reminder that life is for living, and that one combine the serious [being an MP] with the silly [those wonderful Minced Morsels adverts].

    It is difficult to see how future generations can live like Freud - they are seduced by money into working all hours, or being 'one-trick-ponies' in the entertainment world.

    He will leave a huge gap for his family, and the rest of his friends, but more widely for the Radio 4 audience.

    His wonderful series about ageing should, I feel, be replayed in his memory. His anecdote about hunting high and low for his mobile phone, only to have to give up and phone it from his home phone, only to find a ringing from one of the deeper recesses of a pocket was hilarious but with touching pathos as well.

    Deepest condolences to his colleagues as well as to his friends and family.

  • Comment number 5.

    Your Lordship,

    "His wonderful series about ageing should, I feel, be replayed in his memory."

    A toast to Absent Friends!
    and their Immortal Memory


  • Comment number 6.

    A splendid man, and full of common sense as well as wit and fast thinking.

    Millions enjoyed hearing his voice in whatever guise. You knew that whatever was coming up would be irreverent but very much to the point. His recipes were a delight.


  • Comment number 7.

    ariatan 6

    Couldn't agree with you more. And, I still use his recipes!

    A very, very, sad loss.

    Clement Freud was always GREAT value, not only on the radio and television but also as an MP - he was "mine" for many years - a truly muti-talented individual.

    Our loss as well as his family's.

  • Comment number 8.

    What a hoot Clement was, Mark! Here is Spike Milligan's epilogue for all on 4:




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