Mel Smith is a rather UK thing but I’m going to talk about him anyway because I want to.
Mel Smith, aged 60, passed away on Friday from a heart attack in his home in north-west London.
Here’s a clip of him, [in pink] with long time partner Griff Rhys-Jones [in green] and Rowan Atkinson [commentating] on “Not The 9 o’clock News” the program shot him to stardom in the 1980’s.
Smith rose to prominence in the 1980’s from the program “Not The 9 o’clock News.” During the series’ run, he had a rapport with Rowan Atkinson. Atkinson said
“I loved the sketches that we did together on Not the Nine O’Clock News. He was the cast member with whom I felt the most natural performing empathy. He had a wonderfully generous and sympathetic presence both on and off screen.“
After “Not The 9 o’clock News” finished, he teamed up with fellow comedian Griff Rhys-Jones. They became long time comedy partners and created the television show,”Alas Smith And Jones“. Of Smith, he said;
“He inspired love and utter loyalty and he gave it in return. I will look back on the days working with him as some of the funniest times that I have ever spent. We probably enjoyed ourselves far too much, but we had a rollercoaster of a ride along the way.”
Smith and Jones also teamed up to set up the production company ‘Talkback’ which help create some the UK biggest shows and started the television careers of many new comedians. ‘Talkback’ was sold and merged back in 2000 to ‘Thames Television’ [part of Freemantle Media] to become ‘Talkback Thames’. But in 2011, was re-organised back as ‘Talkback’ to a comedy production studio.
Smith was a writer, producer, director as well as an actor in many television and feature films. One film teamed him up with past partner Atkinson in 2001.
“He was also an excellent theatre and movie director, doing a wonderful job on the first Mr Bean movie. If you direct a comedy movie that takes 245 million dollars at the box office you’ve done something pretty special, and I never thought he was given enough credit for this success. I feel truly sad at his parting.”
Smith was one of the comedians that I grew up with. Oddly enough, I saw a “Best of Not The 9 o’clock News” last night. It’s still funny, even though it was made just over 2 decades ago. He will be remembered by me as not just a funny man, but someone who helped create a new generation of comedian.