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Last Updated: Friday, 19 October 2007, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Broadcaster Alan Coren dies at 69
Alan Coren
Coren was well-known for his work on TV and radio and in print

Humorist and broadcaster Alan Coren has died aged 69 after suffering from cancer, the BBC has announced.

Coren was a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4's satirical show The News Quiz, and also appeared as a team captain on TV programme Call My Bluff.

He edited Punch magazine, wrote several books, and was known most recently for his column in The Times newspaper, which he started in 1989.

Mark Damazer, controller of Radio 4, said his death was a "terrible loss".

'Brilliantly funny'

He added: "Alan was the heartbeat of The News Quiz - the man around whom so much turned for nearly 30 years.

"It was not only that he was consistently brilliantly funny, but above and beyond that, his humour burst with humanity and warmth," he said.

"He could pick out the foibles of the mighty - and his own - with pinpoint accuracy, and yet at the same time he evoked sympathy for the human condition."

It is hard to imagine the programme without him
Francis Wheen, fellow panellist on The News Quiz

Mr Damazer went on: "He was fabulously well-read - and there was no subject which was ever beyond his wit."

Robert Thomson, editor of the Times, remembered Coren as "a witty and thoughtful tour guide through life".

"Times readers found great inspiration in his irreverence and insight that will be cherished and rediscovered in decades to come," he added.

Journalist Francis Wheen, who appeared on The News Quiz with Coren, said he was shocked about his death.

"It is very, very sad, and it has been quite sudden... he was diagnosed with cancer and declined quite quickly," Mr Wheen told BBC News 24.

"It is a great loss because he was the only original surviving member of The News Quiz.

"He had been doing it for more than a quarter of a century, and it is hard to imagine the programme without him."

'Big laugh'

Comic Jeremy Hardy, who also featured on The News Quiz, described Coren as a "generous" performer.

"He would have a flight of fancy and he never really knew where it was going, but it would always go somewhere brilliant and it would always end with a big laugh.

"He never prepared anything. He used get irritable with those of us who were comics who had jokes prepared. He thought that was bad form and that we should just all wing it in the moment

"When I first came on the show he was a bit appalled that I was clearly a comic and clearly had gags, but we became very fond of each other over the years."

Coren leaves a wife and two grown-up children - Giles and Vicky - who are both successful broadcasters and journalists.

Tributes to Alan Coren

Obituary: Alan Coren
19 Oct 07 |  Entertainment
'He was very, very funny'
19 Oct 07 |  Entertainment


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