Children’s entertainer Paul Chuckle said he has “lost his very best friend” after his brother and comedy partner Barry died at the age of 73.
The comedy duo’s manager confirmed the TV and theatre star, whose real name was Barry Elliott, had become unwell while filming a new TV series and his health later deteriorated.
The pair were best known for their BBC show ChuckleVision which ran for 21 series from 1987 to 2009. The show spawned many catchphrases including “To me, to you” and “Oh dear, oh dear”.
They had recently made a TV comeback on Channel 5 clip show Chuckle Time, which saw them perform comedy sketches and introduce humorous online videos from members of the public.
Paul’s wife Sue posted a message on his Twitter account on behalf of her “devastated” husband to thank well-wishers for their messages of support.
The tweet said: “Paul has asked me to send a message to thank everyone for your lovely messages this morning, he is absolutely devastated so unable to respond himself but your messages really do help and he knows Barry would be so happy to know how much he was loved, Sue X.”
Manager Phil Dale said in a statement to the Press Association that Elliott had said that working on the new show felt like a return to the “wonderful” days he had during ChuckleVision’s long run.
The statement said: “It is with great sadness that the family announce that Barry passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his wife Ann and all his family.
“Barry with Paul had recently filmed a new series titled Chuckle Time for Channel 5 and he said it was just like the wonderful days of filming ChuckleVision for BBC One.
“The family would like to express their thanks to the many people who have been fans of The Chuckle Brothers and they know that they will share in part the great, great loss they feel.”
Paul added: “I’ve not just lost my brother, I’ve lost my theatrical partner of many, many years and my very best friend.”
Tributes poured in from the world of TV, sport and music following the announcement of the death.
Writing on social media, CBeebies presenter Chris Jarvis wrote: “On screen he was hilarious, on stage even more so but off stage Barry was also the kindest of gentlemen.
“RIP Barry. Love to all his family including all the brothers.”
Rapper Tinchy Stryder collaborated with the Chuckle Brothers on a charity single called To Me, To You (Bruv) in 2014 in aid of the African-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust.
Stryder wrote: “Funny, Down to earth, super cool, talented, humble legend. Rest in peace Barry Chuckle!”
The star and his brother were awarded a Bafta Special Award in 2008 for their contribution to children’s television.
A message on the official Bafta Twitter page said: “We’re deeply saddened to learn of the death of Barry Elliott, known as Barry Chuckle.”
Elliott and his younger brother were both keen supporters of their local football team Rotherham United, and were made honorary presidents in 2007.
The club posted a tribute on their social media page, saying: “Everyone at #rufc are deeply saddened this morning to learn of the passing of our life president, supporter and friend Barry ‘Chuckle’ Elliott, aged 73.
“Our thoughts are with Barry’s family and friends, including his brother Paul, at this sad time. #OnceAMillerAlwaysAMiller.”
Sunday’s episode of Chuckle Time will be aired at 6.10pm on Channel 5 as previously scheduled.