Geoffrey Perkins is killed in a road accident

This is a sad post to write – yesterday we heard the news that Geoffrey Perkins, the incredibly talented BBC comedy supremo, had been killed in a road accident.

His death comes a mere four months after that of Humphrey Lyttelton, chairman of the iconic panel game that Geoffrey Perkins also contributed so much to, I’m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clue.

To give an idea of the impact he’s had on British culture over the past few decades, here’s a paragraph or two from The Guardian’s report of his death:

Ex-BBC head of comedy killed in van collision

He was made head of comedy in May 1995, after working for BBC radio, where he created the game Mornington Crescent in the long-running series I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue.

He also produced the radio series of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the first BBC radio comedy in stereo. In TV he oversaw shows including the Royle Family and League Of Gentlemen.

Recently he had been working for Tiger Aspect Productions, and had produced the Catherine Tate Show, the Fast Show and Father Ted for Channel 4, and Benidorm for ITV. His latest production, Harry and Paul, starring Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, is due to start on the BBC next week. Read full story here…

And here’s an excerpt from the Telegraph obit that gives a little more insight into his personality:

Geoffrey Perkins: producer of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who invented Mornington Crescent.

A relaxed, calm figure with a wry sense of humour, Perkins not only delivered a string of modern hit series during his six years in charge of the BBC television comedy output – including The Royle Family and The Fast Show – but also persuaded David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst to star in a fresh series of the 1980s classic Only Fools and Horses, the first of which was screened at Christmas 2001.

Perkins often confessed himself frustrated by the corporation’s “maddening” bureaucracy, and internal hostility towards situation comedy, which he often heard dismissed as “lowbrow fodder”. After six years in the job, he returned to making programmes in the independent production sector. Read full obituary here…

Condolences to Mr Perkins’ loved ones. In a less personal sense, this will be a huge loss for all of us.