Bryan Blackburn, one of Britain’s best-known comedy writers, died from prostate cancer on October 28, aged 76. He was the brother of Monte Carlo-based agent Allan Blackburn, a noted figure in the cruising industry.
Bryan Blackburn was born in Leicester on October 20, 1968 and was an entertainer from childhood, though his initial impact was in the West End nightspots of the late fifties. He will be particularly remembered for his double act with Peter Reeves, a voguish duo who played all the top West End venues of the period for several years. Reeves eventually left to resume his career as an actor, while Blackburn decided to concentrate on writing.
He did so with considerable success, supplying material to many of the cabaret performers of the sixties and later honing pantomime scripts to suit their particular talents. They included Danny La Rue, Ronnie Corbett, Barbara Windsor and Amanda Barrie, all of whom had previously worked with him in West End cabaret.
But most of his work for the past 30 years was in television. He wrote for The Two Ronnies, for Jim Davidson’s series The Generation Game and Big Break and worked extensively in the United States for Bob Hope. He was also associate producer of Sunday Night at the London Palladium for several years.
He had talents as a lyric writer, his two greatest successes being Love Is Blue and the Peters and Lee hit Welcome Home. He wrote a number of other successful songs for the duo and continued to work on various projects until the onset of his illness six months ago.
He met his wife Helen while she was working as a singer and dancer in nightclub revues. He leaves three sons.
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