THE nation is in mourning for one of the British comedy greats, Tim Brooke-Taylor — the latest famous face to be prematurely snatched away by coronavirus.

Tim, one of the famous comedy trio, The Goodies, and a star panellist on BBC Radio's I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue, only made a handful of visits to the Island during his lifetime.

His first was a day trip to Yarmouth several years ago, and his last was at Shanklin Theatre as recently as November with the show, Oh Goody, but his show in October 2013, was a particularly memorable one for the large audience at the Trinity Theatre in Cowes who thoroughly enjoyed his 'in conversation' show as part of the annual Isle of Wight Literary Festival.

Isle of Wight County Press: Graeme Garden, left, and Tim Brooke-Taylor, of The Goodies, were highly popular during the 1970s. Photo: PA WireGraeme Garden, left, and Tim Brooke-Taylor, of The Goodies, were highly popular during the 1970s. Photo: PA Wire

I was lucky to have interviewed him before and after it and was privileged to have been among the audience.

Tim, 73 at the time, chatted with fellow writer and broadcaster, Chris Searle, of That's Life fame — taking his legion of Island fans on a rib-tickling journey through his long and successful career, which had already spanned five decades.

Looking forward to the show, Tim told me: “When you talk about the IW and festivals, you automatically think about the rock events, so I received a lot of nice comments from people after I told them I was taking part in a festival on the Island."

He also told me he agreed to take part in the Isle of Wight Literary Festival because events of that kind are incredibly important.

"So much goes on within them, one is often left very pleasantly surprised,” Tim explained.

Throughout the two-hour show, the audience hung on his every word as he reminisced fondly over the early days — particularly as a member of the Cambridge University Footlights Club, performing alongside the likes of Monty Python’s John Cleese, Eric Idle and Graham Chapman, and of his time working with David Frost on his breakthrough in television on At Last, the 1948 Show.

Tim spoke of his time working alongside bulgy-eyed comedy star, Marty Feldman, on '1948', and coming up with the famous Four Yorkshiremen sketch, made famous by Monty Python.

Of course, Tim fully exercised the audience's chuckle muscles as he discussed the fun he was having in his long career in radio comedy — most of which was spent alongside his close friend and fellow Goodies member, Graeme Garden, and alongside the likes of 'I'm Sorry' host, Humphrey Lyttleton, and fellow panellists Barry Cryer and Willie Rushton.

He had the Trinity Theatre audience in stitches when some of his funniest clips were given a welcome airing — particularly the hilarious sketch of Tim, as a police sergeant, and undercover cops Cleese, Chapman and Feldman, dressed as tarty women.

I remember people still laughing as they left the theatre — given a memory they wouldn't forget.

After the show, Tim generously gave up his time for a further chat and for me to shamelessly ask for his autograph.

“People often say how wonderful an audience was, but the Island audience really was,” said Tim.

To round off the evening's entertainment, Tim gave me a special memory as he recounted the unfortunate time when a Goodies fan had literally laughed himself to death watching Ecky Thump, a famous 1975 episode which featured a dancing haggis, at the height of the trio's popularity.

Poignant to think of it now, but Tim said if he were to go, he would choose to be laughing at the time too like that Goodies fan.