Jeremy Hardy: Comedian and Radio 4 panel star dies aged 57

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Jeremy Hardy: Comedian and Radio 4 panel star dies aged 57

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jeremy Hardy first appeared on screen in 1986

Comedian Jeremy Hardy, a regular on BBC Radio 4 panel shows like The News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, has died of cancer aged 57.

His death was confirmed on Friday by his publicist, Amanda Emery.

Hardy made his name on the comedy circuit in the 1980s, winning the prestigious Perrier Award in 1988 and best live act at the ITV Comedy Awards in 1991.

On TV he appeared on shows like QI and sketch programme Now – Something Else.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Hardy often worked his socialist politics into his act

Hardy was also an author and columnist, writing for London's ES Magazine and The Guardian newspaper.

In a statement, Hardy's publicist said he died early on Friday and was with his wife and daughter when he died.

"He retained to the end the principles that guided his life; trying to make the world more humane, and to be wonderfully funny," Ms Emery continued.

"He will be enormously missed by so many, who were inspired by him and who laughed with him.

"A fitting memorial will take place, details to be announced soon."

Pointless star Richard Osman was among those to mark his passing, saying Hardy had used comedy "to change the world". In 2016, Hardy appeared on Pointless Celebrities on BBC One.

Image Copyright @richardosman @richardosman Report
Twitter post by @richardosman: I was very lucky to work with Jeremy Hardy early in my career. Every day was a masterclass, a privilege. He was so naturally and brilliantly funny, and a man who chose to use his comedy to change the world, rather than to fill stadia. A very sad day. #RIPJeremy Image Copyright @richardosman @richardosman Report

BBC Radio 4 also expressed sadness at the loss of "one of the funniest people around".

Image Copyright @BBCRadio4 @BBCRadio4 Report
Twitter post by @BBCRadio4: We are desperately sad to announce that Jeremy Hardy, mainstay of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue and The News Quiz, and one of the funniest people around, has died of cancer aged 57. Our thoughts are with all who knew and loved him.  Image Copyright @BBCRadio4 @BBCRadio4 Report

Others to pay tribute include Julian Clary, fellow comedian Kate Robbins and Father Ted creator Graham Linehan.

Skip Twitter post by @JulianClary

Very sad to hear that @JeremyJHardy has died. From the earliest days he was always the funniest and brightest. https://t.co/mo096AbA8y

— Julian Clary (@JulianClary) February 1, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @JulianClary

Skip Twitter post by @KateRobbins

So very sad to hear about Jeremy Hardy dying.
Very funny, intelligent and witty man, adored by many.
Rest in peace Jeremy

— Kate Robbins (@KateRobbins) February 1, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @KateRobbins

Skip Twitter post by @Glinner

Very shocked by this. Jeremy Hardy gone. https://t.co/AZ2oywBrfo

— Graham Linehan (@Glinner) February 1, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @Glinner

Born in Farnborough, Hampshire, in 1961, Hardy studied modern history and politics at the University of Southampton before embarking on his stand-up career.

From the outset, he worked his socialist politics into his topical act.

He made his television debut in 1986 in Now – Something Else, an early vehicle for impressionist Rory Bremner. Hardy was a featured writer and also played the role of Jeremy the Trainee.

Hardy also appeared as Corporal Perkins in an episode of the BBC comedy Blackadder Goes Forth in 1989. Seven years later, he presented an episode of Top of the Pops.

Also in 1996, Hardy teamed up with comedian Jack Dee to write Channel 4 sketch show Jack and Jeremy's Real Lives. The pair would later work together again on I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.

Hardy became well-known for his comically bad singing on the long-running radio panel game.

Political views

He also fronted Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation, a series of comedy lectures for BBC Radio 4, from 1993.

Episodes were based around subjects as diverse as how to be a father and how to meet the challenge of the 21st Century. The show's 10th series was broadcast in 2014.

And he appeared on BBC Radio 4 with his first wife, American actress and comedian Kit Hollerbach, in the sitcoms Unnatural Acts and At Home with the Hardys. They adopted a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1990.

As a life-long socialist, Hardy's political views were often reflected in his work.

Until 2001, Hardy wrote a column for The Guardian newspaper in which he regularly expressed his support for the Socialist Alliance.

His final column for the paper criticised the news media for its "increasingly humorous tone".

Outspoken comments

His opinions didn't always prove popular with his audience. In 2000, he was booed by members of the Just A Minute audience when he used the subject "parasites" to begin a rant against the royal family.

In 2004, Burnley Council cancelled one of Hardy's performances after saying in an episode of his Speaks to the Nation show that members and supporters of the British National Party (BNP) should be shot.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hardy's second wife was the film-maker Katie Barlow

Hardy was one of a number of names from the world of showbusiness to support the early release of Danny McNamee, who was found guilty of the IRA's 1982 Hyde Park bombing which killed four members of the Household Cavalry and seven horses. McNamee's conviction was overturned in 1998.

Hardy was also a keen advocate for the rights of Palestinians, travelling to the occupied West Bank in 2002 to film the documentary Jeremy Hardy vs the Israeli Army.

Hardy is survived by his second wife, film-maker and photographer Katie Barlow.

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