John Bird

Actor and comedian John Bird has died aged 86, his representatives have confirmed.

He was well known for his work in satirical TV shows, particularly his many appearances opposite John Fortune.

Bird was part of the satire boom of the 1960s, appearing in programmes such as That Was The Week That Was.

But he was perhaps best known for his work with Fortune and Rory Bremner in the TV series Bremner, Bird and Fortune.

The satirical show ran for 16 series, as well as one-off specials, between 1999 and 2008, and was nominated for several Bafta TV Awards.

In one of Bird and Fortune’s most famous recurring sketches, known as The Long Johns, one of the two actors – Bird or Fortune – would portray a senior figure from public life, being interviewed by the other.

In the set piece. the fictional businessman, government consultant or bumbling politician, who always went by the name of George Parr, would be skewered by the increasingly exasperated interviewer.

During an appearance on Desert Island Discs in 2004, Fortune said it was “very difficult to keep a straight face” during his and Bird’s largely improvised duo-logues.

Bird’s film credits include Red and Blue, Cynthia, A Dandy in Aspic, 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Jabberwocky, and Yellow Pages.

John Fortune (right) with John Bird and Rory Bremner


Alan Davies and John Bird, in Jonathan Creek

John Bird in One Foot In The Grave (pictured alongside Richard Wilson as Victor Meldrew)

Jonathan Kydd as Vince, John Bird as John Fuller-Carp, James Fleet as Hilary Tripp and Sarah Lancashire as Ruth Quirke in BBC legal drama chambers

The cast of the BBC's The Late Show in 1966, left to right: Andrew Duncan, John Wells, John Bird, Eleanor Bron, Anthony Holland, Barry Humphries

John Bird and Paul Merton on Have I Got News For You in 2004

Comic actors (L-R) Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, John Bird and Jane Booker standing around a piano in a sketch from the BBC television series 'A Bit of Fry and Laurie', April 15th 1994.

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Bird and Fortune pictured with the Bafta they shared in 1997

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After the cancellation of That Was the Week that Was ahead of the 1964 general election, the BBC commissioned The Late Show to try and recapture the success of the satirical political show.

However, it only ran for a year, and was dropped after 24 episodes. The Late Show also starred Barry Humphries, best-known as his comedic alter-ego Dame Edna Everage.

Bird’s other TV credits included If It Moves File It, Dangerous Brothers, A Very Peculiar Practice, My Father Knew Lloyd George, and The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball.

Bird shared a Bafta with co-star Fortune in 1997. The award, for best light entertainment performance, came for their work on Channel 4’s Rory Bremner, Who Else? programme.

In the early noughties, he starred opposite Sarah Lancashire in the BBC’s legal sitcom Chambers, appearing in both the original radio series, and later the TV adaptation.

Bird also appeared in three episodes of Jonathan Creek, as well as one episode of One Foot in the Grave.

Source: BBC

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