Broadcaster and critic Clive James dead at 80

Clive James death

Author, critic and broadcaster Clive James has died at the age of 80, one month after laying down his pen for the last time.

The Australian-born star of The Clive James Show was diagnosed with leukaemia, kidney failure and lung disease in 2010 and over the years wrote and updated his own obituary.

He died at home in Cambridge on November 24 and a private funeral attended by family and close friends took place in the chapel at Pembroke College, Cambridge on Wednesday.

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OXFORD, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: Author, critic and TV presenter Clive James poses for a portrait at the annual "Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival" held at the Oxford Union March 28, 2004 in Oxford, England. James' latest book is titled, "Even as We Speak." (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
Clive James outside his home in Bermondsey, London.
File photo dated 24/04/97 of presenter Clive James arriving at the Royal Albert Hall for the BAFTA award ceremony. Poet, critic and broadcaster Clive James has died at the age of 80, his agents have said.
Clive James: Avuncular Australian TV host who never stopped writing
Clive James and Emma Thompson help launch BBC1's £62 million line up of programmes.
File photo dated 21/06/96 of Liza Minnelli with interviewer Clive James for the recording of the Clive James Show. Poet, critic and broadcaster Clive James has died at the age of 80, his agents have said.
File photo dated 18/06/99 of (standing, left to right) racing driver Damon Hill, Anthony Edwards, star of medical TV soap ER, and Lily Savage, with presenter Clive James before a recording of his chat show 'Monday Night Clive'. Poet, critic and broadcaster Clive James has died at the age of 80, his agents have said.
File photo dated 27/06/99 of actress Catherine Zeta-Jones meeting Clive James for "Monday Night James" in London. Poet, critic and broadcaster Clive James has died at the age of 80, his agents have said.
File photo dated 19/02/02 of Clive James at his home in Bermondsey, London. Poet, critic and broadcaster Clive James has died at the age of 80, his agents have said.
TV presenter Clive James (left) and Star Wars actor Liam Neeson after recording Carlton TV's Monday Night Clive in London. * for broadcast on Monday 19 July 1999.
PA NEWS PHOTO 28/10/98 TV PRESENTER CLIVE JAMES AND MUPPET MISS PIGGY ON STAGE AT THE PRINCE'S TRUST COMEDY GALA AT THE LYCEUM THEATRE IN LONDON. THE EVENT WAS TO MARK THE PRINCE OF WALES'S 50TH BIRTHDAY (14/11/98).
08-AUG-96 ... Clive James enjoys a joke at Damon Hill's press conference
CLIVE JAMES INTERVIEWS EDDIE IRVINE
Australian broadcaster Clive James with model Jerry Hall. They will be reviewing the decade's events on New Year's Eve on BBC1.
Clive James in the BBC TV series Postcard from Miami.
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A statement on behalf of his family, released by his agents, said: "Clive died almost ten years after his first terminal diagnosis, and one month after he laid down his pen for the last time.

"He endured his ever-multiplying illnesses with patience and good humour, knowing until the last moment that he had experienced more than his fair share of this 'great, good world'.

"He was grateful to the staff at Addenbrooke's Hospital for their care and kindness, which unexpectedly allowed him so much extra time. His family would like to thank the nurses of the Arthur Rank Hospice at Home team for their help in his last days, which allowed him to die peacefully and at home, surrounded by his family and his books."

James first revealed the news of his illness in May 2011, when he had already been ill for 15 months – when he wrote to The Australian Literary Review to explain why he could not write for them.

Clive James death
Clive James with Liza Minneilli in 1996 for the recording of the Clive James Show (Neil Munns/PA)

He became the television critic for The Observer in 1972 and selections from his column, which he wrote for more than ten years, were published in three books.

He ventured into memoir in 1980, when he published the first book of his autobiography and it was followed by four other volumes, as well as four novels.

He found fame on television as the host of Clive James On Television, Saturday Night Clive and The Clive James Show and he fronted the BBC's Review Of The Year programmes in the late 1980s, as part of the channel's New Year's Eve broadcast.

Clive James death
Clive James with Jerry Hall in 1990 (PA)

He also ventured into travel programmes and made the major documentary series Fame In The 20th Century in 1993, and presented the official Formula One season review videos throughout the 1980s, while on radio he presented BBC Radio 4's A Point Of View.

During his long illness he increasingly focused on writing poetry, including the collection Nefertiti in the Flak Tower and the poem Japanese Maple, which was published in The New Yorker in 2014 and became a viral sensation before appearing in best-seller Sentenced to Life in 2015.

More recently he wrote a book about binge-watching called Play All and in October 2019 he released Somewhere Becoming Rain, a collection of writings about the work of Philip Larkin.

PRINCE'S TRUST COMEDY GALA
With Miss Piggy in 1998 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

His self-penned obituary revealed that a long and ultimately unsuccessful operation to remove a cancer on his cheek in February 2019 left him frail and almost blind.

He spent the spring and summer of 2019 writing and editing an autobiographical anthology called The Fire Of Joy, which he described as a raid on "the treasure-house of his mind".

The book will be furnished with his notes on each poem and was finished a month before his death. It will be published in 2020.

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