Entertainment & Arts

Ronnie Corbett: Stars honour 'remarkable' comedian at memorial service

Ronnie Corbett and his chair in Westminster Abbey Image copyright BBC/PA
Image caption Corbett's empty chair was at the front of Westminster Abbey

Stars including Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry and Rob Brydon have joined 2,000 people at a memorial service for comedian Ronnie Corbett.

Corbett's chair and four candles - famous from his sketch show The Two Ronnies - were placed at the front of Westminster Abbey.

The entertainer died aged 85 last year.

In an emotional tribute, Brydon said it was "truly one of the great pleasures" of his life to become friends with "this remarkable man".

He added: "To walk down the street with Ronnie Corbett was to witness something really rather wonderful.

"Faces would light up with joy like shop windows when they saw him. Here was that man, that friend, who had entertained us for so long."

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Media captionJimmy Tarbuck and Rob Brydon pay tribute to their friend Ronnie Corbett

Brydon choked up when he talked about how he had kept many of the star's answerphone messages.

He continued: "In these horribly dark and troubled times we're living through, he's brought us all together and once again we've laughed and we've smiled as we remember and celebrate him.

"On behalf of us all, I say thank you Ron. We will never forget you."

Lumley, who gave a Bible reading, said Corbett "would be absolutely delighted and amazed" at the service of thanksgiving.

"The Two Ronnies were as good as it gets," she said. "They were at the top of the tree. They always left me in stitches and gasps of admiration."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley and Ben Elton attended the service
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Su Pollard and Graham Norton arrived at the event together

Jimmy Tarbuck also delivered a tribute. Addressing the gathering, he said: "A full house for Ronnie. And why not. In a wonderful setting, Westminster Abbey. A house of heroes."

Referring to former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and former Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman, who are commemorated in the abbey, Tarbuck added: "Churchill, Betjeman and Corbett. And Poets' Corner. And Ron was a poet of comedy."

He added: "He was 5ft 2in in stature and 10ft in comedic talent."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Maureen Lipman, Dame Barbara Windsor and June Whitfield
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jimmy Tarbuck, Harry Hill and Richard Wilson

Others in attendance included David Walliams, Maureen Lipman, Dame Penelope Keith, Graham Norton, Patricia Hodge, June Whitfield, Jo Brand, Julian Clary, Ben Elton and Dame Barbara Windsor.

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Media captionNick Higham looks back at the life of Ronnie Corbett
Image copyright PA
Image caption Corbett's widow Anne Hart wore his CBE medal on a chain

Sir Michael Parkinson had been due to deliver a reading but was said to be unwell.


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