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.

The candle display referenced one of Corbett'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."

Sir Michael said Corbett 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 Corbett: "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."

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

Before the service, Tarbuck said Corbett 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.

"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, Tarbuck said: "Much loved, and should have been knighted. That's definitely my opinion."

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

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