Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 13°C

Search

Suffolk: Stars turn out for funeral of Only Fools and Horses producer Ray Butt

PUBLISHED: 14:20 29 July 2013 | UPDATED: 18:21 29 July 2013

Ray Butt, left, directing David Jason and Buster Merryfield in the Only Fools and Horses Christmas Special in Seymour Road, Ipswich, in November 1987.


Picture: Jerry Turner

Ray Butt, left, directing David Jason and Buster Merryfield in the Only Fools and Horses Christmas Special in Seymour Road, Ipswich, in November 1987. Picture: Jerry Turner

Celebrities, former leading BBC executives, family and friends today paid tribute to Ray Butt, the original producer of BBC Television sitcom Only Fools and Horses, during a moving funeral at a Suffolk church.

Mr Butt, who lived at Hemingstone and who died earlier this month aged 78, played a key role in the award-winning comedy series which at its peak it attracted 15 million viewers a week.

Today, Mr Butt’s funeral was held at All Saints, Ashbocking, near Ipswich, and was attended by TV stars, leading lights from the BBC, family and friends.

In a kind and personal handwritten letter to Mr Butt’s partner of 35 years Jo Blyth, Sir David Jason, who was unable to attend because of tight work deadlines, credited Mr Butt with helping him gain the role of Derek Trotter in the hit series which was regularly voted the nation’s favourite sitcom.

Sir David said: “What a sad blow it was to read of Ray’s passing, he was such a great character and one I shall never forget, for it was he who helped me attain the part of Derek Trotter in Only Fools. My thoughts will be with you all.”

During the service tributes included those by John Challis (Boycie in Only Fools and Horses), Gareth Gwenlan, head of comedy for the BBC 1982-1990, and Ray’s daughter Jenny McBean.

Rev Catherine Beaumont, priest at Ashbocking, who led the service and knew Ray, said: “He was an East End boy made good and as Sir David Jason has said in a letter to his partner for 35 years Jo, “we have lost a real Cockney sparrow”.

“Ray once told me rather grumpily that he did not believe in God, but God clearly believed in Ray. Ray made full use of all the, to me anyway, God given talents he had.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Thousands of people have headed to Jimmy’s Farm in Wherstead today for the first day of one of the biggest events on its calendar: Jimmy’s Festival.

A baby born with a rare disease that causes such severe muscle weakness that even breathing, eating and swallowing become difficult for her has received support from a Suffolk charity.

Families in Ipswich needn’t have ventured far to hit the beach as a sandy retreat began its summer-long stint in Christchurch Park.

A man accused of brandishing a fake gun in Ipswich has been detained to appear at crown court next month.

Regional housebuilder Persimmon Homes celebrates its apprenticeships programme.

Libraries face a challenging future under Brexit – but determined Suffolk communities will put up a fight to help them survive.

A petition has been launched to continue the landfill search for missing Corrie McKeague following the news that it has been called off.

Ipswich Town fans have shown their disgust for a billboard in the town showing off Norwich City’s new home kit - by attempting to tear it down.

A person has been taken to hospital after an incident in Christchurch Park in Ipswich this morning.

A Bramford motorcyclist who has admitted causing the death of his pillion passenger through dangerous driving by having a defective rear tyre has been warned he could be jailed.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24