Jazz Legend Humphrey Lyttelton Dies


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Humphrey Lyttelton, jazz musician and presenter of Radio 4 comedy show “I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue", has died aged 86.

Lyttelton, who had hosted the “self-styled antidote to panel games" since 1972, was admitted to hospital earlier this week for surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.

Best known as a musician, Lyttelton began playing the trumpet in 1936 and still toured with his band up until recently. In 1956, Lyttelton's Bad Penny Blues was the first British jazz record to enter the top 20.

BBC bosses paid tribute. Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer described Lyttleton as “an extraordinarily modest man". He said: “Humphrey Lyttleton was a great and towering figure in the history of Radio 4 comedy.

“Of course he was fabulously funny and sharp: but more than that he was the definition of a certain sort of wit - self-deprecating, mordant and linguistically brilliant. I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue has been the most successful Radio 4 comedy - and Humphrey its centrepiece."

Jenny Abramsky, Director of Audio and Music at the BBC, said: “Humphrey Lyttleton has been one of the wonders of radio broadcasting for years. He championed British jazz with his weekly programme on Radio 2.

“At the same time his deadpan stewardship of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, the unique ringmaster of an anarchic world, ensured the programme became the jewel of radio comedy."

BBC director general Mark Thompson said: “Humphrey Lyttleton will leave an enormous gap not just in British cultural life as a whole but in the lives of many millions of listeners."

The spring series of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue was cancelled this month after Lyttelton was admitted to hospital.

In 1993 he received a Sony Gold Award for services to broadcasting. In 2006 he published an 'autobiographical scrapbook' called “It Just Occurred to Me."

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz Publicity.
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