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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 November 2005, 17:31 GMT
Have I Got News For You man dies
Harry Thompson
Harry Thompson also wrote a novel and several biographies
TV comedy producer Harry Thompson, one of the creators of Have I Got News For You, has died at the age of 45.

His other successes included They Think It's All Over, Harry Enfield and Chums, Monkey Dust and The 11 O'clock Show.

He also wrote biographies of Peter Cook and Herge, the creator of Tintin. His first novel, This Thing of Darkness, was longlisted for the Booker Prize.

Mr Thompson was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer in April, despite never having smoked.

He was being treated at a London hospital. He died on Monday having married his long-term girlfriend, Lisa Whadcock, earlier in the day.

He was that rarity in television - the talented, single-minded, subversive maverick
Peter Fincham
Thompson's other hits included Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Da Ali G Show.

The British Comedy Awards had planned to present him with a Jury's Award for his outstanding contribution at its ceremony next month.

"It's sad he won't be there to receive it, but the legacy of his enduringly popular series lives on," said executive producer Michael Hurll.

Monkey Dust
Dark comedy Monkey Dust has been a cult hit on BBC Three
Mr Thompson was responsible for 93 episodes of Have I Got News For You between 1990 and 1996.

Have I Got News for You panellist Ian Hislop said: "He was a brilliant producer - very funny, always mischievous and bold."

"Then he wrote The Thing of Darkness, which for a major novelist was an enormous accomplishment, and for a first-time novelist was nothing short of extraordinary.

"This is from a man who has already created a huge amount of comedy shows which are a complete and astounding legacy in themselves."

'Subversive maverick'

BBC One controller Peter Fincham said Mr Thompson's death would "leave a big hole in the comedy world".

"He was that rarity in television - the talented, single-minded, subversive maverick."

"Harry was a truly independent spirit and one of the funniest people I've ever known," said BBC Two controller Roly Keating.

"As a stunningly talented producer and writer he brought pleasure to millions of people, and it's a tribute to his sheer creative energy that he remained active up to the very end."

Shortly before his death, Mr Thompson completed a non-fiction book about his amateur cricket team, the Captain Scott XI.

The book, Penguins Stopped Play, will be published in April 2006.

Have I Got News For You
Have I Got News For You has been running since 1990
'Brilliant producer'

Denise O'Donoghue and Jimmy Mulville, joint managing directors of Hat Trick Productions, said in a statement: "Harry was one of the most brilliant producers of his generation and was central as the show's producer to the early success of Have I Got News For You."

He left the show to work on other projects, most recently with independent TV company Talkback Thames and his own production company, Silver River.

He also contributed to national newspapers and was nominated for travel journalist of the year in 1995.

"He was plainly a genius," Mr Thompson's literary agent Bill Hamilton told the BBC News website.

"He did so many things. Not only was he a fine producer, but he was also turning out to be a phenomenal novelist as well as a highly considerable biographer."

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