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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 June 2007, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
Manning penned his own obituary
Bernard Manning
Manning said he would have "the last laugh"

Controversial comic Bernard Manning wrote his own obituary four months before his death.

Manning, who died in hospital on Monday aged 76, defends himself against accusations of racism in the eulogy, published in the Daily Mail.

He said the term racist was "abuse bandied around by the media" against those who did not follow its "agenda".

Channel 4 has confirmed that Manning also made a film about his life, to be aired within the next month.

A spokeswoman said the one-hour programme, Bernard Manning RIP, was made with "the full co-operation of Bernard and his family".

In his Mail obituary, Manning - who said he was a descendant of Jewish immigrants - railed against critics such as the Commission for Racial Equality, who "forgot that the only point of jokes is to make people laugh".

"Well, at least I won't be seeing any of the po-faced, politically-correct brigade where I'm going. I had quite enough of them in my lifetime," he wrote.

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Tributes have continued to come from those who admired Manning's comedy and his charity work.

'Working-class hero'

And his son Bernard Junior, 46, said on Tuesday that his father was a "working-class hero" who went out of his way to help others.

"I'm incredibly proud to be his son," he added.

"I won't have a bad word said against him - he was the best father a son could ever want."

"Whatever people said about him, he couldn't care less. He was just happy to be himself and spend his life helping people."

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said the comic's death was a "sad day" for the city.

"In my 20 years in Manchester, there have been fewer people who contributed as much to Manchester life as Bernard," he said.

'Heavyweight'

"His generosity, time and personality touched everyone. I can say no more than he was a good friend to me and many, many more," he added.

Bernard Manning
Manning said he would have "the last laugh"

Sir Cyril Smith, former Rochdale MP and friend of Manning, said: "Bernard was a heavyweight in more ways than one. A heavyweight to the literally hundreds of charitable causes that he supported all his life and raised thousands of pounds for.

"Bernard was kind, generous, honest and straight and will be missed. He was often maligned and wrongly so."

Manning wrote in the obituary that he had decided what he would like written on his gravestone - engraved in very small letters so visitors would have to look closely to read it - "Get off! You're standing on my privates."

He spoke of his tough upbringing in Manchester - sharing a bed with his five siblings - and of his call-up to the army just as World War II ended.

'Undermined true comedy'

"I was one of the armed guards watching over the Nazi hierarchy locked up in Spandau prison. For a 16-year-old, it was a bizarre experience, standing over the likes of Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer with a Bren gun," he wrote.

Although evidently frustrated by being "barred from the airwaves" and his TV appearances being reduced in the 1980s, Manning said: "I wouldn't have changed any of it for a moment."

"And as I look down now on all the over-paid executives who have made such a mess of television and undermined true comedy, and as I sense the affection from the mass of the British public, I know that I am the one having the last laugh."

His funeral is expected to take place on 26 June.


SEE ALSO
'The kindest, most generous man'
19 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
Obituary: Bernard Manning
18 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
Comedy star Bernard Manning dies
18 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
Bernard Manning: Your comments
18 Jun 07 |  Have Your Say

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