Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

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Peter Neill
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Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

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ayrshireman
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by ayrshireman »

Damn.

Like many, I was a huge fan of his. 'Not The' and 'Smith and Jones' are iconic comedy programmes for my generation.

RIP to an underrated comedian, writer and director.

ray lomas
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by ray lomas »

Very sad news.

I can't think of anything I ever saw him in that I didn't really like; he was always my favourite of the NTNOCN cast as well.

My old Drama teacher knew him from his time at the Sheffield Crucible and I remember him telling me what a personable (and hugely knowledgeable) bloke Mel was.

I know he hadn't been in the best of health of late, but this still comes as something of a shock nonetheless - RIP.

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Mark C Bale
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by Mark C Bale »

Awful news. I also liked him in the movie WILT (wish the other Wilt novels had been filmed with Smith and Jones).

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Controller 2957
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by Controller 2957 »

Damn...

The 'Meatloaf' spoof, 'Maltloaf', almost killed me when I first saw it as I was drinking a cup of tea at the time... Loved 'Colin's Sandwich', the modern 'Hancock's Half-Hour'... The head-to-heads with GRJ were genre defining... 'Muck and Brass' showed that he wasn't a comedian but a genuine all-round actor. I could go on... Jumbo Whiffy being another favourite... "When I first came into this office, there was a fat old drunk sat behind that desk mumbling platitudes - and it was me."

RIP Mel...
You see, no-one... NO-ONE escapes the new world!!

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Don Satchley
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by Don Satchley »

Sad news. A great comedy actor and all rounder. I loved Colin's Sandwich when I was growing up. The other role that always comes to mind for some reason is Mel's portrayal of the landlord of the Royal Imperial Windsor Arms Hotel in European Vacation. RIP Mel.

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BobDylan'sGrandmother
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by BobDylan'sGrandmother »

This is a major shock!

When I saw the thread title, I thought 'not THE Mel Smith?'

Just sitting here recalling all the great things he appeared in, with a little help from the previous contributors, and some other things too- even the Comic Relief record he did with Kim Wilde; pretty cheesy- but it's bringing a little smile to my face (albeit tinged with sadness..) And when he forced that kiss on Griff (Alas Smith & Jones), that was actually pretty awkward/uncomfortable viewing at the time for me - especially as I was in my mid-late teens (SURELY he won't allow that?!?) But, when it happened, it was one of the most outrageously hilarious things that I've ever seen. And my Mum, who was watching it on video with us at the time thought so too!

Also, probably like the majority here, I first saw him in 'Not'. I remember my Dad angrily getting up to switch the set off; 'We're not having THAT sort of language in this house!' It was the one and only time he did that. I vaguely remember the sketch- about a vicar (probably) who was 'outdoor preaching' and getting verbals from a member of the public. ISTR Rowan Atkinson playing the preacher (it may have been the other way around) - though I of, course, only saw the sketch partway in and was only 9! I'm going to try to see if I can find that sketch anywhere (or some info on it) because I would SOOOO love to see it now. Hope I'm not miles off track, and Mel actually was in it!

Seems like I've been waiting to see Colin's Sandwich again for an age, along with a many others.

RIP, Mel- thank you for all the laughter.

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Mark C Bale
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by Mark C Bale »

Saw the funny WILT a few months ago, which was still good fun, though not as good as the novel. I must check out MORONS FROM OUTER SPACE again as I haven't seen this for many years. I think it is out on DVD, so will have to try and get this.

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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by Mike S »

He could work wonders with a line, that's for sure. 'Nine of them were wise, and used their tin-openers dilligently...'

What bloody awful news.

andrew baker
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by andrew baker »

He was brilliant in "Dancing on the Edge". He did a very subtle 1930s London accent - a slight touch of Hitchcock but only very slight. Completely convincing and showed what a good straight actor he could be.

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penfold
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by penfold »

That's just too young to go. Damn, that's sad.

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bent_halo
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by bent_halo »

His theatrical background often gets overlooked. His 1981 film about the Royal Court for Omnibus is full of knowledge and humour and one of my favourite Mel Smith moments, but for me he's inseparable from my childhood where Smith & Jones were a formative part of my comedy upbringing. He just was comedy.

If it was just Talkback that he was remembered for, that alone would constitute an extraordinary contribution to British comedy.

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FuzEE
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by FuzEE »

A very reliable and funny performer. RIP.

rachel leah
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by rachel leah »

I just got the news from the Daily Wail. I'm not going to even dignify it with a link as it wasn't a very nice obituary.

He did look ill. I got a shock when I saw how much he aged the last few years. He always stays as he was in the Smith and Jones sketches in my mind.

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Simon36
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by Simon36 »

bent_halo wrote:His theatrical background often gets overlooked. His 1981 film about the Royal Court for Omnibus is full of knowledge and humour and one of my favourite Mel Smith moments, but for me he's inseparable from my childhood where Smith & Jones were a formative part of my comedy upbringing. He just was comedy.

If it was just Talkback that he was remembered for, that alone would constitute an extraordinary contribution to British comedy.
Absolutely agree on all counts. I've spent the evening writing his obit for Monday's Indy (and ended it with a similar comment about Talkback) and it was just impossible to cover everything that deserved to be mentioned. Adored him, and always felt that others often lacked his energy and bravery to his disadvantage, hence him not being given more film projects worthy of his talents in recent years or more straight roles. To me he had the lowest profile of the NTNOCN team but the most wide-ranging achievements.

I also am sure he'd have become an even more interesting actor as he got older, as his Churchill hinted. I could imagine he'd have made a great Eddie Waters in Comedians in a few years time. RIP Mel.

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penfold
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by penfold »

rachel leah wrote:I just got the news from the Daily Wail. I'm not going to even dignify it with a link as it wasn't a very nice obituary.
Indeed, I had to have a look after you mentioned it. Good to see the commenters laying into the article though.

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bent_halo
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by bent_halo »

Simon36 wrote:I also am sure he'd have become an even more interesting actor as he got older, as his Churchill hinted. I could imagine he'd have made a great Eddie Waters in Comedians in a few years time. RIP Mel.
Unquestionably. What makes it so odd that he didn't get more straight roles is that the clues were there for all to see in his comedy work: his performance style didn't stem from the revue tradition. He had a naturalism which was rare at the time.

We watched The Homemade Xmas Video last night, a comedy special years ahead of its time. It's hardly the greatest script in the world but there was something so immediate about Mel and Griff that could survive the verite of a camcorder-based comic play. When they corpse, it's joyous.

I loved the detail that during auditions in 1976 for the revival of 'Not I' at the Royal Court's Beckett season, Mel (as assistant director) performed the whole of the monologue over and over again as a series of actors raised and lowered their arms in the hope they could be the darkened figure.

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Simon36
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by Simon36 »

Indeed Ian: I wonder who actually got the part!

Just thinking by the way of the Stout sketch and Mel's call to ban stoutist graffiti, "an obvious example being MAXIMUM LOAD EIGHT PERSONS."

Bodie
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by Bodie »

One of my favourite sketches from "Alas Smith and Jones" is the one where Mel Smith, mourning at the graveside, pulls out his handkerchief and drops his keys into the open grave.

Another one I'd love to see again is the one where, during the show's opening introductions, the BBC start testing the "Mel Smith has died" announcement and caption, much to Mel's shock and anger.

Given the circumstances I don't think they'll show either of these anytime soon, but despite their themes they remain as brilliant examples of Mel's abilities.

ITMA
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by ITMA »

Bodie wrote:One of my favourite sketches from "Alas Smith and Jones" is the one where Mel Smith, mourning at the graveside, pulls out his handkerchief and drops his keys into the open grave.
Cowritten by Paul Merton (and John Irwin). Easy to find on YouTube!

Mike S
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by Mike S »

You could make a great documentary about Mel Smith's life and work, for sure. So many untrodden paths you could wander down.

videoking
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by videoking »

This is bloody awful! A great comedic talent lost!

Brian F
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by Brian F »

Talking about stage work, I saw him in the comic musical "The Gambler" but not "Charlies Aunt" though I though I had I saw it early in the run when Griff RJwas playing the part, Mel Smith took over later, frighteningly Briony McRoberts was in the cast too and they died in the same week.

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bent_halo
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Re: Mel Smith (1952-2013) RIP

Post by bent_halo »

By way of tribute, the Not Again documentary and an edition of Alas (introduced by Griff) are on BBC2 this Saturday.

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