The unexpected death of EastEnders’ Mike Reid came as a shock. We weren’t put on notice; there were no reports of a life-threatening illness and he appeared to be in the best of health. Out of the blue – breaking news. Goodbye to Frank Butcher. It got me thinking about deaths that made an impression on me, for some reason or another.
The first star death I recall was Elvis Presley’s. I was a little girl, but somehow I knew this was a significant moment. I watched every news bulletin (I’m pretty sure Reginald Bosanquet announced between the News At Ten bongs: "The King of rock n roll is dead" – Elvis fans, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) and listened to Radio 1’s day-long tribute ( Elvis records all day). I vividly remember tears; it just seemed as if the whole world was crying…
Another death that affected me was Richard Beckinsale’s. The comedy actor, star of The Lovers and Porridge, died in his sleep in 1979 from a massive heart attack. He was only 32. I’d grown used to hearing about old people dying of heart attacks; seeing the pictures of a young Richard Beckinsale accompanying the news of his death was a shock. Such a likeable man too.
I was in primary school when John Lennon was murdered in 1980. Parents and teachers were stunned – they couldn’t believe a Beatle had been assassinated. At that time, I didn’t know the names of the band members, but I’d seen clips of The Beatles; I liked their hair and I knew some of the songs. Why would anyone want to kill a Beatle? I couldn’t understand it. Once again, Radio 1 paid full tribute to someone the planet was mourning.
In 1984, our family was watching ITV’s variety show, Live From Her Majesty’s. Comedian Tommy ‘just like that’ Cooper had us all in stitches. And then he dropped to the ground. Just like the live audience, we laughed even harder. We thought we’d seen a part of his act, but in actuality, he’d collapsed from a massive heart attack. In front of millions of viewers. When the news finally broke, we were astounded.
I’ll share just one more with you. Unless you were around at the time, it’s impossible to convey the impact entertainer Rod Hull made with his Emu puppet in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1999, a freak accident killed him; he fell off his roof adjusting the TV aerial during the Man Utd v Inter Milan game. United won the Treble that season…
Today I am mostly lovin’ – Paramount Comedy Channel’s The Secret Life of Hoodies. Very funny.
Today I am mostly hatin’ – The Jeremy Kyle Show. Chav TV for the masses.
MSN Editor Coops