Four candles lit as stars bid farewell to comedy great Ronnie Corbett


Four candles burned at the back of the altar as grandees from the golden age of British television paid their respects at the funeral of Ronnie Corbett.

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

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

Four candles burned for Ronnie Corbett

The candle display referenced one of Ronnie's most popular sketches as part of The Two Ronnies alongside Ronnie Barker, known as Four Candles - or Fork Handles.

Stars including Barry Cryer, Sir Michael Parkinson, Harry Hill, Jimmy Tarbuck, Rob Brydon and David Walliams were among the mourners.

After the ceremony, Sir Michael said the service "hit exactly the right note", adding: "It was the least showbizzy funeral I've been to."

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

A pair of glasses rests on flowers at Ronnie Corbett's funeral

Sir Michael said Ronnie was "a serious man, he was an intelligent man", adding that he was a "stickler" for manners.

The former chat show host said that when comedians die "all that remains is the echoes of forgotten laughter".

Sir Michael said of his friend Ronnie: "What you saw is what you got. He was modest, self-effacing, he was a brilliant comic, very good actor too, very good comedy actor.

"And as a guy to be a friend of, he was just unbeatable."

David Walliams was among the celebrities who attended the funeral of Ronnie Corbett

Sir Michael said he will be "greatly missed", adding: "It's a sad day."

Before the service, Jimmy Tarbuck said Ronnie was a "great guy" and added that the atmosphere would be "very sad for the family and for all his friends".

He went on: "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.

Jimmy Tarbuck and Rob Brydon at Ronnie Corbett's funeral

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

Prompting cheers from mourners nearby, Jimmy said: "Much loved, and should have been knighted. That's definitely my opinion."

The coffin was adorned with white flowers, and the service ended with a recording of him singing Up's The Only Way To Go.

Ronnie Corbett's coffin being carried in to the church

His final words in the song are: "God bless. Goodnight."

In a tribute during the service, the late star's daughter Emma said: "This is undoubtedly the hardest thing I've ever had to do. And yet it is also a huge privilege."

She joked that the family had borrowed ideas from orders of service her mother had collected over the years, adding that the quote "Grief is the price we pay for love" was taken from Sir David Frost's service.

"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.

"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.

Ronnie Corbett's family at his funeral

The star's daughter joked about his height.

"For someone known for being short, he would stand next to me seven foot tall," she said.