British Comedy Guide

Sean Hughes dies aged 51

Monday 16th October 2017, 12:08pm

Sean Hughes.

Stand-up comedian Sean Hughes has died aged 51, his management company have confirmed.

The star last posted to his Twitter timeline on the 8th October, with the statement "In hospital". Recent reports suggest he had been suffering from liver cirrhosis for some time. It is believed he died in north London's Whittington Hospital today after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Widely regarded as a brilliant stand-up comedian, Hughes began appearing at The Comedy Store in 1987. He won the prestigious Perrier Award in Edinburgh in 1990. At the age of 25, he was then the youngest comedian to claim the accoalde.

He gained popular fame in 1992 with his own Channel 4 sitcom, Sean's Show. The comedy - which saw the central character break the fourth wall to talk to the audience and home and reference the fact it was a TV show - ran for two highly acclaimed series.

Sean's Show. Sean (Sean Hughes). Copyright: Channel X.

Hughes then went on to join BBC Two panel show Never Mind The Buzzcocks in 1996 as a team captain, a role he held until he decided to quit the show in 2002.

His other acting work includes the film Round Ireland With A Fridge, medical drama Casualty and ITV soap Coronation Street. In the biography on his website, he explained: "I appeared in Coronation Street for a couple of months playing Pat the womanising travelling salesman. They never told me what it was he sold but I assume it was small stuff as I was never even given as much as a bag. Viagra would be my guess."

Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Image shows from L to R: Sean Hughes, Mark Lamarr, Phill Jupitus.

In recent years, Hughes has been performing live shows around the country - most recently as part of The All-Star Stand-Up Tour, and an experimental team-based show at the Edinburgh Fringe titled Blank Book. He has also presented Under The Radar, a self-made podcast in which he interviewed people from the world of comedy.

In an interview with British Comedy Guide in 2015, Hughes spoke about adapting his style to star in family-friendly live show The Railway Children, writing a show about the death of his father, and returning to club gigs.

In a separate archive BCG interview from 2011, he spoke about making Sean's Show, saying "they let me do anything I wanted to do and it was brilliant". Referencing his time on Never Mind The Buzzcocks and other TV work, he added: "I won't give up on [TV] but I won't do panel shows, because I've done that. I really feel for comics now - the only way you can do comedy on TV is a five minute slot which is not really for real, or a panel show."

Many stars from the world of comedy have taken to social media to pay tribute to their friend and colleague. His former promoters, RBM Comedy, labelled him "the master of comedy", adding he was "a comic very much ahead of his time".

Nica Burns, the Director of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, says: "Sean was the youngest winner of the Edinburgh Comedy Award. He was a huge talent - a great comic and writer. He will be missed."

Kate Phillips from the BBC says: "There is no doubt that Sean's unique wit, dry delivery and ability to engage and have fun with guests week in week out helped establish Never Mind The Buzzcocks as one of the most memorable panel shows of all time. I am a huge fan of his and am very sad to hear this news. All of our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."

Phil Jupitus‏, Sean's long-time colleague on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, posted the following tribute:

Hughes created a YouTube channel to showcase some of the notable moments from his career, including uploading full episodes from Sean's Show. Here is Series 2, Episode 1:

When he appeared on Come Dine With Me, Hughes - much to the dismay of his guests - served the same stew for all three courses. Watch

In 2013, Hughes took part in an in-depth discussion about his career with BCG podcast What Are You Laughing At?.

He was also a guest on Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast in 2015. Here is the full video of that interview:


 

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