From Bradford, UNESCO City of Film, we write about film, photography, television, animation, gaming and the web.
Today we heard the upsetting news that Eric Sykes, the very first recipient of the Bradford Film Festival Fellowship in 2006, has died aged 89.
Six years ago, the brochure for our 12th annual film festival introduced the comic genius, thus:
The writer, director and performer Eric Sykes was born in Oldham in 1923 and received his first lifetime achievement award in 1961. He’s had two more since, one for each of his chosen careers, and still not taken the hint.
Ian Potter, then Curator of TV Heaven, interviewed Eric on stage in our Pictureville Cinema. We screened a television retrospective, which included Eric’s acting roles, TV interviews, and some of his greatest directorial work.
Eric, you shall be missed – not least by these people:
“Very sorry to hear that Eric Sykes, the Beethoven of comedy, has left us. It may not be generally known, but for a long time he created and performed his comedy whilst having no hearing. He got the laughs but he couldn’t hear them himself without his ‘hearing aid glasses’. So his talent will be missed – but now his comedy will be heard forever.” Eddie Izzard (@eddieizzard)
“Oh no! Eric Sykes gone? An adorable, brilliant, modest, hilarious, innovative and irreplaceable comic master. Farewell, dear, dear man.” Stephen Fry (@stephenfry)
“Eric Sykes. RIP. One of our great comedy writers and actors. Old links to that hallowed era slowly waning. V sad.” Miranda Hart (@mermhart)
“RIP Eric Sykes. A brilliant comedian, writer and actor. “Sykes” is one of my favourite sitcoms.” Bill Baily (@BillBailey)
“Eric Sykes goes just as the god particle is found – coincidence? I don’t think so. RIP Eric.” Katy Brand (@KatyFBrand)
“The wonderful Eric Sykes has left us. A giant of comedy and a gentleman – funny to his very core. RIP” Mark Gatiss (@Markgatiss)
“sad to see that Eric Sykes has died, the last link to many of the most important early post war comedians – a great entertainer” Robin Ince (@robinince)