Broadcaster and writer Ned Sherrin has died from throat cancer, aged 76.
Ned Sherrin's broadcasting career spanned six decades
Sherrin rose to fame in the early 1960s as the man who devised That Was The Week That Was, the ground-breaking satirical BBC television show.
He went on to write, produce and direct for stage and screen and presented BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends for 20 years.
BBC director general Mark Thompson said Sherrin, who died at home in Chelsea, south-west London, would be remembered with "affection and gratitude".
"I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of Ned Sherrin," Mr Thompson said.
"Through his brilliant early work, Ned was a trailblazer who paved the way for the sophisticated modern comedy satire shows that are so much loved by audiences today.
"The entertainment industry owes Ned Sherrin a huge debt and he will be remembered with enormous affection and gratitude by the BBC and by countless millions of viewers and listeners."
Sherrin was born into a farming family in Somerset in 1931 and became involved in the theatre whilst reading law at Oxford University.
Sherrin joined the BBC as a producer on the Tonight programme
He was called to the bar in 1955 but a fortuitous meeting with a floor manager from the TV revue the next day led him to a job at ATV.
Two years later, he moved to the BBC where he directed the Tonight programme and later a range of variety shows, panel games and musicals.
His work in broadcasting, theatre and film, saw him fulfil roles as an actor, producer, director, author and presenter.
He hosted Loose Ends, a weekly show of comedy, talk and music from its beginning in 1986, but was forced to step down in December 2006 after cancer was diagnosed.
Fellow broadcaster Stephen Fry paid tribute to his friend and colleague.
"I remember him as a man of exquisite taste and pleasure in life," he said. "A man who in many ways resembled a gigantic cat who found an enormous vat of cream."
"He inspired immense affection, partly because he was very old-fashioned - despite the fact that he might be regarded as single-handedly responsible for the end of deference and the beginning of the attacks on the establishment that marked the 60s."
Comedian Arthur Smith, a regular guest on Loose Ends, recalled Sherrin as "a man who went out there and grabbed life".
"He knew everyone, he'd been to all the plays, he'd seen the films. He often knew more than the guest he was interviewing."
'Cocktail of wit'
Sherrin also presented the music quiz Counterpoint on BBC Radio 4, which he once described as "the most entertaining revision course in popular and classical music that I could imagine".
He was made a CBE in the 1997 New Year's Honours list.
His manager Deke Arlon said Sherrin had died with friends and his doctor at his bedside on Monday.
The broadcaster took pride in discovering new talent
He added that he had been "one of the great bon viveurs of the world, with a tremendous ability to enjoy".
Mark Damazer, controller of Radio 4, said: "Ned brought to Radio 4 a fabulous cocktail of wit, zest, curiosity and mischief - all based on an extraordinary knowledge of stage, screen and writing.
"He was an impresario as well as a great raconteur. He was a natural broadcaster - and got the best out of others. He sparkled and made us all smile and laugh.
"And for all his fame - he was considerate and kind. He will be hugely missed."
A tribute programme will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 1830 BST on Tuesday 2 October.