TV host and comedy writer Denis Norden dies aged 96

19 September 2018, 03:14 | Updated: 19 September 2018, 07:00

Former TV host and comedy writer Denis Norden has died aged 96, his family has said.

The It'll Be Alright On The Night host died on Wednesday morning after spending "many weeks" at the Royal Free Hospital in north London, a statement from his children, Nick and Maggie Norden, said.

It added: "We'd like to say a huge thank you to all the dedicated staff and doctors who have looked after him - with much devotion.

"A wonderful dad, a loving grandfather and great great-grandfather - he gave his laughter mongering to so many.

"He will be in our hearts forever."

Born in London's East End in 1922, Norden's writing career began during the Second World War penning troop show sketches while serving in the RAF.

During his time in the armed forces he got to know many of the writers and performers who would feature on radio and TV in the post-war years.

Preparing for a troop show in northern Germany in 1945, he went in search of stage lighting with fellow performers Eric Sykes and Ron Rich at what they believed to be a nearby prison camp.

It turned out to be the recently liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. So moved were they be the plight of the inmates that they organised a food collection amongst their comrades for the camp's victims.

After being demobbed Norden began writing for radio, teaming up with Frank Muir in 1947. Their first show together, as writers and performers, was Take It From Here on which they collaborated for 11 years.

He continued to write and perform in many successful TV and radio shows throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s.

In 1977 he began presenting It'll be Alright on the Night, which featured outtakes from films and TV shows.

He retired in 2006 at the age of 84, although in 2008 he published a sequence of autobiographical sketches called Clips From A Life.