One of the leading figures in British television and radio comedy was killed in a traffic accident yesterday. Geoffrey Perkins, a former BBC comedy chef, had written and produced shows for comedians including Harry Enfield, Catherine Tate and Angus Deayton.
The 55-year-old was struck by a flatbed truck on Marylebone High Street in central London. It is believed that he collapsed and fell in the path of the vehicle. A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: “The 55-year-old victim received emergency first aid at the scene but was pronounced dead”.
Mr Perkins made a name for himself on the BBC by producing The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, one of the most successful radio shows ever made. During his six years at BBC Radio, he produced 20 different programs and 200 individual shows, and created the Mornington Crescent game for Radio 4 I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue.
He became the chief comedian of BBC TV in 1995, after serving as director of Hat Trick Productions, one of the leading independent production companies, for eight years.
He left the BBC again in 2001 to join Tiger Aspect Productions. Former colleagues were shocked by his death. Jana Bennett, BBC Vision Director, said last night: “Geoffrey was an outstanding creator of countless comedic successes. He embraced the talent of comedy to create unique programs that will be enjoyed for a very long time to come.
“All our thoughts are with Geoffrey’s family at this very sad time.”
A life of laughter
Geoffrey Perkins has had numerous radio and television credits. At the BBC, he produced The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, BBC Radio’s first comedy in stereo. As the director of Hat Trick Productions, his shows included Have I Got News For You. Other early hits include the popular Spitting Image, Saturday Night Live, Friday Night Live, and Ben Elton – The Man From Auntie. Later, as comedy chef on BBC TV, he oversaw The Royle Family, Men Behaving Badly and The League Of Gentlemen. After leaving the BBC again in 2001 to join Tiger Aspect Productions as Creative Director, he produced several shows for the company, such as The Catherine Tate Show and The Fast Show. He co-wrote The Harry Enfield Television Program. His latest production, Harry And Paul, starring Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, is due to start on the BBC next week.