Ronnie Corbett funeral: ‘All that remains is echoes of laughter’

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.
Ronnie Corbett funeral: ‘All that remains is echoes of laughter’

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.

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

After the ceremony, Parkinson 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.”

Parkinson 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”.

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.”

Bruce Forsyth’s wife was among the mourners but he was absent.

It is understood he was too ill to attend as he recovers from surgery.

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