Barry Cryer was cheeky, kind and a canny engineer of comedy | Mark Lawson

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A generous-hearted jokesmith, Cryer created laughs for generations of comics, was a consummate performer and had a lifelong commitment to wit

The best work of Barry Cryer, who has died aged 86, was in two different ways unseen. He wrote jokes for generations of comedians from Tommy Cooper and Morecambe and Wise through the Two Ronnies to Rory Bremner, and much of his professional pleasure came, like that of a demolition expert, from appreciating carefully engineered explosions from a distance. A lot of the big laughs he received personally came on radio, where he was a chairman during the 1972 first series of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue before becoming a pivotal and consummate panellist for the rest of his life.

While his TV appearances were much more infrequent, Cryer was immediately recognisable, partly due to to a distinctive look – prematurely white hair offset by big, thick, black-framed spectacles.

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