Saturday 18 November 2017

Film… hosts lead tributes to Barry Norman

The late critic was the longest-serving presenter on the series.

Barry Norman (Toby Melville/PA)
Barry Norman (Toby Melville/PA)

By Katie Archer

Barry Norman’s Film… successors have led tributes to the critic who has died aged 83.

His family announced that he had passed away in his sleep on Friday night.

Norman presented BBC One review show Film… from 1972 to 1998 and those who followed him in the role offered their respects after hearing the news.

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Barry Norman’s successors paid tribute to him (BBC/PA)

Jonathan Ross, who succeeded him as host from 1999 to 2010, tweeted his sadness.

Claudia Winkleman then took on the role from 2010 to 2016.

BBC director-general Tony Hall released a statement about the corporation’s former star.

He said: “Barry Norman was a first class presenter and critic. Film buffs always found his programmes essential viewing.

“He dominated broadcasting about films for a generation with wit and great knowledge.

“He will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Fellow film critic Mark Kermode also offered his condolences.

Food critic Jay Rayner took to the piano for a musical tribute as he hammered out the theme tune to Film…

Stephen Fry reminded fans of Norman’s pickled onion brand.

Comedian Leigh Francis, DJ Trevor Nelson, actor Nitin Ganatra and chef James Martin also tweeted tributes.

Writers Gyles Brandreth and Tony Parsons, presenters Paul Ross and Lizzie Cundy, and impressionist Rory Bremner were among those paying their respects.

A statement from Norman’s daughters, Samantha and Emma, described him as “remarkable” and added: “He had a great life, a wonderful marriage and an enviable career.”

Norman also wrote for the Daily Mail and the Guardian newspapers.

His literary agent Curtis Brown said he was “the defining voice of film criticism and insightful interviewing of screen legends from both sides of the camera”.

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Barry Norman with his wife and daughters in 1998 after being awarded a CBE (Fiona Hanson/PA)

His wife Diana Norman, who wrote a series of best-selling historical thrillers under the name Ariana Franklin, died in 2011 aged 77.

Norman said at the time: “I was working as a gossip writer on the Daily Sketch for my sins, which was the only job I could get, and she was working as a very highly respected writer on the Daily Herald, as it was then.

“We met in Fleet Street and married.”

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