Comedian, entertainer, radio presenter, practical joker - Jeremy Beadle dies at the age of 59 having entertained millions in a decades-long career blighted by unwarranted criticism, and - in later years - severe illness.
Known either as the funniest man on TV to his fans, or a spack-handed annoyance to his critics, there's no denying that, at the height of his fame, Beadle could pull in viewing figures of over ten million for his Saturday night practical joke showpiece "Beadle's About".
Starting his career in radio, Beadlebum - as he was known to his Capital Radio listeners - soon graduated to TV with the genre-busting "Game for a Laugh", before breaking out on his own as a noted practical joker. He was also - years before Harry Hill made it funny again - the original host of the long-running clip-show "You've Been Framed".
Despite the huge viewing figures for "Beadle's About", the press dubbed him "the most hated man on TV", when, in reality, he was the complete opposite, having raised millions for leukemia charities for which he was awarded an MBE.
One cannot help, despite thewidespread coverage of his death from pneunomia, that this is nothing but Beadle's last, greatest practical joke. As the coffin is carried into the church, a familiar voice will say: "But wait! Who's the mystery pallbearer?"
No points scored for Beadle in the game, but no less than three people have contacted me this evening with the news of his passing. Big it up to Cliff for the funeral gag.