Eddie Large, one half of the most successful British comedy partnership of the 1980s, has died with coronavirus while undergoing treatment for heart failure in hospital.
Born in Glasgow, Large moved to Manchester with his family before he turned 10. It was here that his childhood ambition to become a comedy performer was realised by a chance encounter with Syd Little, then a solo singer, when Large found himself in the audience of one of Little’s sets.
The two teamed up, initially as a singing duo, and turned professional in 1963. Little and Large served their apprenticeship on the northern pub and club circuit before winning the television talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1971.
Small-screen guest appearances led to the Little and Large Tellyshow on ITV in 1976, which moved to the BBC in 1978. They became a staple of Saturday-night television, with Large himself often contributing as a sketch writer, until 1991 when new tastes and changing fashions rendered them all but obsolete.
A new generation of alternative comics eventually robbed them of an audience for their once hugely popular summer seasons and annual pantomime appearances.
The pair disbanded after Large had a heart transplant in 2003 – since then he has had several serious health issues – but they reunited recently for Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway in 2018 and the quiz show Pointless Celebrities in 2019.
Large published an autobiography, Larger Than Life, in 2005.
Eddie Large, born Edward Hugh McGinnis, was born on June 25, 1941 and died on April 2, aged 78.