Page last updated at 10:19 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 11:19 UK

Bill Cotton: Your memories

Sir Bill Cotton, the man who helped bring Monty Python and Dad's Army to the screen, has died in hospital at the age of 80. The director general of the BBC Mark Thompson, described him as one of the giants of television.

You have been sending in your memories and tributes and below is a selection of your comments.


I knew Bill during the 1980s from the Dover Castle in London's West End. Bill was completely without pretension, a very funny guy and a true gentleman.
L Brewerton, Lincolnshire

A sad loss. Bill Cotton was one of the greats, responsible for the most fantastic television; not a bureaucrat; not an accountant; but a true broadcasting and entertainment professional. Thanks Bill for bringing us the best in television entertainment during my 20s and 30s. You will be missed.
Edwardingle, Chesham

HAVE YOUR SAY
TV in the 1970s was light years ahead of what we have nowadays. Back then, producers were imaginative and bold
David, Fareham, UK

I was very fortunate to have known Sir Bill. He was a great help to me when I was researching books about Morecambe and Wise, Dad's Army and Frankie Howerd, and he remained an invaluable advisor. What impressed me most about his attitude to television was his concern for the audience. He wanted the BBC to entertain the nation. Not the niche. The whole nation. He took seriously the idea that public service broadcasting included entertainment as well as information and education. I'll miss him greatly. I'm sure we all will.
Graham McCann, UK

It was only last month that I interviewed him for our Morecambe and Wise website. He was a wonderful, warm person with great memories and a love of the business he made his own in the 70s. We have much to thank him for, and I am glad I got a chance to say thank you.
Paul Jenkinson, Manchester

I used to work with him - an amazing man, an amazing smile. Many great experiences with him - but I always liked a particular story he told me of when Peter Sellers came for dinner at Bill's house and there and then sketched out a comedy series idea to Bill set in the BBC. Peter was going to play all the characters - and all seen from the perspective of a janitor living beneath the BBC. The discussion went into the early hours of the morning. Bill said it was one of the great (and most hilarious) nights of his life as this comic genius - one-on-one with him - painted the picture, doing all the voices. Peter was ready to do it and of course Bill said "commissioned." The next day Bill rang Peter's agent: Peter had just left for America for a two year film deal - something he'd forgot to mention! Bill was just an incredible inspiration and, in terms of TV, above all else because he truly loved the medium and wasn't afraid of it.
Mat Steiner, London

On my way to work, I caught Terry Wogan's tribute to Bill Cotton. It was a joyous way to hear about a great man and his achievements.
Mrs R Summers, Berinsfield, Oxfordshire

We saw Bill Cotton whilst we were in Poole Hospital when my son was taken in with a virus infection. I couldn't believe it was really him. When they took him to Bournemouth hospital he smiled and waved to me and my son. He looked so well, it is really hard to think that he has died.
Julia Hollands, Poole

Only in my forties, but as a kid, I remember that anything associated with Bill Cotton was definitely worth watching. A great leader who will be sadly missed.
Eddie Staynings, Bristol

I so remember The Billy Cotton Bandshow every Sunday lunchtime ...my Mum cooking the roast lamb and yorkshire puds, so many happy memories... the tune still in my head. Da da da da ...
Christine P Crader, Tampa, USA

I didn't know Sir Bill, I never met Sir Bill, but his work brought seemingly endless joy and laughter into my life. I naively assumed it would always be that way. There's no need for rose-tinted nostalgia here - William Frederick Cotton really did deliver a golden age of British telly, and God bless him for that.
Steve, Cardiff

I had the privilege of meeting Sir Billy at the BBC Open University studios back in the early 80s. I was on contract and he came to give us a talk about what was happening at the Beeb. He was a most charming man and was eager to answer every question however trivial. He had a great presence and something I have treasured from my time at the Beeb.
Anne Eames, Langwarrin, Australia

I have a copy of a Reith lecture he once gave. In this he was spot on about how British Public Service Broadcasting gave the British and The World a quality and type of comedy that we would be sadly without if we did not have the BBC. It nurtured the nature of British Light Entertainment as peculiarly different to the American brand(s). One of his lines was "Where Would Rowan Atkinson's Black Adder be without it?" His influence in this, from Morecambe and Wise etc to the present day still stands. Let's hope it can stand a little longer.
Ian Scattergood, Gillingham, Dorset

I met Bill Cotton at a BBC Open Day at Television Centre in 1986. He had time for anybody who spoke to him. A really genuine people person! Thanks for your contribution to the Golden Age of Television.
Richard Thorn, Liphook, Hampshire

The fact that I loved all the programs that Bill Cotton brought to us and that nothing else these days comes close in terms of quality and originality is an example of excellence.
Charles, Crawley

Just shows how far we have declined in broadcast standards since Bill Cotton's heyday. A real legend of TV.
D Mullen, UK

As Bruce Forsyth said "He was responsible for what I think was the golden age of BBC television, which we'll never have again" I was lucky to grow up with memories of his shows on the radio when I was young, and then the countless wonderful comedy shows he was responsible for bringing to our homes via BBC TV. He was a genius and sadly there is no one with his vision today.
David Cunningham, France (Expat but UK taxpayer)




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