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A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

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Location: Wellington, New Zealand

March 08, 2006

Another JAM veteran dies

JAM guest John Junkin has died.

John appeared in eight JAMs between 1980 and 1992, and was one of the "braver" guests, challenging Kenneth within a few minutes of his first show for being "boring".

It's certainly been a sad few weeks for JAM fans.

Here's how the BBC reported it - an obituary follows.




Comedy veteran John Junkin dies

Comedian and writer John Junkin has died at the age of 76.

Junkin, who was in the Beatles film A Hard Day's Night and appeared in TV shows such as The Goodies, had been suffering from lung cancer.

He died at 0130 GMT at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, said his friend and former BBC Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis.

Five years ago, Junkin made a TV comeback in EastEnders, playing Ernie, a stranger who came into the Queen Vic.

The Ealing-born comedian had also had emphysema and asthma.

Junkin's film roles included Shake, who was one of the road managers in the Beatles' 1964 comedy adventure, A Hard Day's Night.

He also appeared in classic British comedy The Plank, with Tommy Cooper and Eric Sykes.

Talented

He was also a prolific writer. His credits include the Morcambe and Wise show and ITV's Hark at Barker, which starred Ronnie Barker as Lord Rustless alongside Josephine Tewson as Mildred Bates.

Junkin also wrote and appeared in Marty, which starred Marty Feldman.

More recently, Junkin was on the writing team of The Crazy World of Joe Pasquale and The Impressionable John Culshaw.

He also appeared in sitcoms Terry and June and Till Death Us Do Part.

His radio credits include Hello Cheeky! alongside Tim Brooke-Taylor and Barry Cryer, which was later turned into a TV series.

Obituary: John Junkin

John Junkin: Master of mirth and noted character actor

John Junkin, who has died aged 76, was a familiar face in dozens of films, TV plays, comedies and game shows, but he was also a prolific scriptwriter for many of Britain's top comedians.

Together with Barry Cryer, Neil Shand, Eddie Braben and Spike Mullins, John Junkin was one of a select band of comedy writers responsible for scripting some of the most popular television shows of recent years.

John Junkin was born in Ealing, west London, in January 1930 and began his working life as a school teacher.

He turned to scriptwriting, supporting himself at first as a liftman and labourer while writing for comedians like Ted Ray and Jimmy Logan, and got into acting in 1960 with Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop.

Indeed, within a fortnight of first meeting Littlewood, he was playing a leading role in the original production of Sparrers Can't Sing.

Junkin worked with Bruce Forsyth and Elizabeth Larner

During the following year, Junkin played a wide variety of stage roles, from a gay Liverpudlian tennis player to a mad German scientist.

After leaving Littlewood's company he featured alongside Rex Harrison in August for the People, at London's Royal Court.

The 60s saw him appearing as an actor in a vast array of television shows, including Z Cars, Emergency Ward 10 and Dr Finlay's Casebook, as well as in films like A Hard Day's Night, which provided a snapshot of Beatlemania.

At the same time, Junkin was writing, often in his garden shed, for some of the biggest comedy names in the UK: Morecambe and Wise, Marty Feldman and Ronnie Barker.

He went on to appear in films like A Handful of Dust and Chicago Joe and the Showgirl, plus hundreds of television and radio programmes, including EastEnders, Coronation Street, and The Professionals.

Beyond that, there were four series of his own show, Junkin, on ITV, and the cult radio hit Hello Cheeky!, which he wrote with his long-time collaborators Barry Cryer, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Denis King.

And he remained a much sought-after scriptwriter, working on television programmes like All Creatures Great and Small and for top comedians including Les Dawson, Bruce Forsyth, Joe Pasquale and Jon Culshaw.

Junkin's wit, and his obvious contempt for much of today's television output, was pithily displayed in the following letter to The Times, published in October 1998:

"May I confess to not being quite as upset as many people at the loss of first-class cricket by BBC Television, principally because it will give viewers a chance to see the three new series I have devised.

"These consist of 26 programmes on gardening, 26 on travel and 26 on cooking, with a Christmas special in which a well-known gardener is invited to take a celebrity chef to some glamorous location and cook him."

John Junkin was married, and had a daughter.

Veteran comedian John Junkin dies aged 76

John Junkin, the veteran comedian who appeared alongside some of Briton's most respected actors and entertainers, has died at the age of 76.

Junkin, who was in the Beatles film A Hard Day's Night and appeared in EastEnders, had been suffering from lung cancer.

The comedian worked with Morecambe and Wise, Ronnie Barker and Spike Milligan. In the Seventies, he appeared in The Goodies, Terry And June, and Till Death Us Do Part.

Five years ago he made a TV comeback in EastEnders, playing Ernie, a mysterious stranger who suddenly appeared in the Queen Vic.

An actor, comedian and script writer, Junkin was as comfortable appearing on radio as on TV. Dave Lee Travis, a former Radio 1 DJ, paid tribute to his friend and colleague.

"He was one of those characters that if you were in conversation with him, you were always in a state of hilarity," he said.

"He had no airs and graces at all. He was just as at home talking to his friends in the local pub as he was with people in show business."

Junkin had been suffering from lung cancer, emphysema and asthma and died at 1.30 this morning at the Florence Nightingale House in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Travis said.

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