Entertainment & Arts

Stars attend Ronnie Corbett's funeral

Ronnie Corbett funeral flowers Image copyright PA
Image caption Glasses resembling Corbett's trademark pair were placed on a wreath

Sir Michael Parkinson, David Walliams and Jimmy Tarbuck were among the mourners at Ronnie Corbett's funeral.

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

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

After the service, Sir Michael said the service "hit exactly the right note".

He added: "It was the least showbizzy funeral I've been to.

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

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Image caption Four candles were lit for the service

Four candles burned at the back of the altar - a reference to the famous Two Ronnies sketch, Four Candles/Fork Handles.

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Image caption Writer and Britain's Got Talent judge David Walliams was among the mourners

Sir Michael described Corbett as "modest, self-effacing, a brilliant comic."

"What you saw was what you got," he added. "And as a guy to be a friend of he was just unbeatable."

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Image caption Sir Michael was a close friend of Corbett's

Corbett's daughter Emma paid tribute to her father during the service, saying: "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.

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Image caption Corbett's order of service featured photos of the star

"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," she said.

She went on to joke about his height, adding: "For someone known for being short, he would stand next to me seven foot tall."

Canon Arthur Quinn conducted the service and said: "In all those years, he told me one joke which I'm not going to repeat. He was really a very serious man. We talked about all sorts of things, including religion."

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Image caption Corbett's wife Anne Hart attended with their daughters Sophie and Emma

After the funeral, the cortege moved on to a local crematorium.

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Image caption Comics Jimmy Tarbuck and Rob Brydon were among the mourners
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Image caption Comedy writer Barry Cryer worked with Corbett for many years

Barry Cryer, who worked with the Two Ronnies and first met Corbett 50 years ago, said: "I can't think of him without smiling... I'm here and tipping my hat to him."

Rob Brydon, who also worked with Corbett and did impressions of the star, said: "People's faces would light up when they saw him, he just brought happiness."

The funeral service concluded with a recording Corbett made of a song called Up's the Only Way to Go.

Image caption The Two Ronnies was a hugely successful sketch show

A small group of fans gathered outside the church to pay their respects.

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Image caption Sir Bruce Forsyth's wife, Lady Wilnelia, was among the mourners

Tarbuck also paid tribute, saying: "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.

"I mean, he was a terrific laugh. Dreadful giggler. He used to get me at it when we worked together."

He added that Corbett was "much loved, and should have been knighted".

Corbett was one of the UK's best-loved comedians whose double act with Ronnie Barker was one of the most successful of the 1970s and '80s.

His most memorable solo projects include the sitcom Sorry! and the game show Small Talk. He most recently starred in the BBC Radio 4 sitcom When the Dog Dies.

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