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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 16:25 GMT
Tributes paid to comic Dave Allen
Dave Allen
Allen was widely regarded by his peers
Friends and fellow comedians have been lining up to pay tribute to Dave Allen, who has died at the age of 68, and the many years he dedicated to his career.

Comic and writer Barry Cryer, who worked with Allen, said: "Like all the good comics, he was a perfectionist - he wouldn't settle for anything less.

"He was an old friend but he was an idol of mine as well. I watched him develop, from his days on The Val Doonican Show to becoming a story-teller, delivering his polemics.

Cryer added: "He was so serious and committed, but he proved you could be serious and funny - he was our Bill Hicks.

"He was a lovely man, warm, I only spoke to him two or three weeks ago, he said you must come round for lunch, we've got lots of food on the go. I'd suggested him as a front man for a project I'd been working on."

Comedian Eddie Izzard said he was grateful Allen's material had just been released on DVD so he could be viewed as one of the "comedy greats".

"He was an original. He carved his own path," said Izzard.

"I think he was the first alternative stand-up to have his own show on TV and he was a torchbearer for all the excellent Irish comics who have followed in recent years.

Barry Cryer
He was so serious and committed, but he proved you could be serious and funny - he was our Bill Hicks
Barry Cryer

Actor Frank Kelly, who played Father Jack in the TV series Father Ted, called Allen's death a great loss.

He said: "It's the end of an era for a kind of comedy, a convention of comedy that seems to have moved on to an alternative form of comedy, and I would be much more of his generation.

"He was of the school who told jokes more than anecdotes."

Comedian Roy Walker said of Allen: "He was the greatest comedian since the war.

"He was better than Jackie Mason and Bob Hope and all those guys.

Gay Byrne
He was a tremendous observer of the idiocies of life and brought them brilliantly to the screen and the stage
Gay Byrne

"He had a tremendous warmth and he was one of the few who could cross over from joke-teller to modern-day comedian."

And Late Late Show presenter Gay Byrne, who interviewed the comedian on several occasions, said he admired Allen's delivery style.

"He was a tremendous observer of the idiocies of life and brought them brilliantly to the screen and the stage," he said.

"He was born and raised a Catholic, so he knew it very well and was able to make fun of it.

"People at first were outraged and then got used to it and were able to enjoy it."

Allen was well known for poking fun at religion at a time when it was strictly taboo, causing outrage among many.

BBC's head of comedy Jon Plowman said: "He was a groundbreaker in many ways particularly in the jokes and sketches that had a go at religion - something that certainly came from his growing up in Ireland was sometimes quite tough for its day .

"He tried to show the hypocrisies of the world as well as its funny side."

It is an immense loss of a great comedian but more importantly a good friend
Jimmy Tarbuck
Fellow Irish comic Dylan Moran said: "He could dismiss several schools of philosophy by shifting slightly in his chair or toting his whisky glass.

"When he adjusted his waistcoat or shot his cuffs, dragons of unreason gasped and died at his feet. Who was funnier, or more loveable?

"He was the uncle to end all uncles, childlike yet oracular and possessed of a ravenous appetite for human folly."

BBC creative director Alan Yentob said: "I am very shocked and sad to hear of Dave's death. There was no one like him - the stool, the smile, the cigarette, the hand gesture, the slow burn.

"He was a master storyteller, a real original."

And comedian Jimmy Tarbuck said Allen produced "a brand of irreverent comedy that was totally his own - it was wonderful".

He added: "It is an immense loss of a great comedian but more importantly a good friend."

Rik Mayall said: "I'm deeply saddened to hear of Dave Allen's death. He was an absolute hero from childhood."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
A look at comedian Dave Allen's work



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