Family back plaque for Barry Cryer in Mornington Crescent

Calls for popular comic Cryer to follow Willie Rushton with memorial

Thursday, 3rd February — By Harry Taylor


Mornington Crescent is the name of a popular round on BBC Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, that Cryer appeared on for decades

FOR years, Barry Cryer had joked that he was not sure how much longer he would be alive, quipping how he had stopped buying green bananas – just in case.

It was a line fondly recalled after the I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue comedian’s death, aged 86, last week.

Now, his family are hoping that a New Journal suggestion of a plaque being erected at Mornington Crescent tube station in his memory could gather steam.

The location would be apt as it is the name of a famous game on the BBC Radio 4 show.

One plaque is already in place for another former panellist, the Private Eye co-founder Willie Rushton who died in 1996, while the nearby Lyttelton Arms was named in 2010 after its late host and British jazz luminary Humphrey Lyttelton.

Mr Cryer’s son Bob, speaking on behalf of the family, said: “We’re delighted that this idea is being talked about in connection to Dad’s memory. It was a very happy association during his life and would be a wonderful way to reunite him with two of his favourite people: Willie and Humph. We hope that a campaign to honour Tim [Brooke-Taylor] as well, isn’t too far behind.” Mr Brooke-Taylor, a former “Goodie”, died from Covid-19 in April 2020.

In the Mornington Crescent game, panellists start off at one tube station on the map, and, through a system of incomprehensible and ever-changing rules, eventually reach Mornington Crescent via other London locations.

Since its inception in 1978, its persistent and emphatic absurdity has made it a firm favourite among fans.

Mr Cryer, who had written for Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper and Kenny Everett, made his debut on the show in 1972.

The existing plaque to Willie Rushton in the entrance of Mornington Crescent station

He lived in Hatch End but used to write with the late Monty Python star Graham Chapman in the Angel pub in Highgate.

Michael Palin, who had kept in touch with Mr Cryer since the pair worked together on The Frost Report in the late 1960s, said he had been a “generous friend and a terrific man”.

“Barry would probably have had a joke about blue plaques, because he had a joke for everything. He never took himself too seriously at all,” said Mr Palin, who lives in Gospel Oak.

“I knew him before Python and he was one of the few people who was one of the established writers who encouraged me to carry on. He would always be very encouraging of people. He wasn’t involved in Python, but we used him as a warm-up act while we went off to change clothes or between acts, and he would come on and tell a joke or two.”

Mr Palin added: “He would always get more laughs than we would! Barry was never one who wanted honours, he just wanted to make people laugh. He was from the old music hall tradition.

“In a way he was rather like David Attenborough – he did the same thing and did it wonderfully. He never wanted to be anyone but himself. I owe him an enormous debt and a plaque would be a nice idea to honour him.”

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