John Bird, one of the “greatest satirists” in Britain, passes away at age 86.

John Bird, one of the greatest satirists in Britain, passes away at age 86. (2)
Tributes to the celebrity are led by Rory Bremner, who is best known for his work on That Was The Week That Was and his partnership with John Fortune.

After the 86-year-old comedian John Bird passed away, his former colleagues paid tribute to one of Britain’s “greatest satirists.”

He was best known for the satirical sketches that he performed on the Channel 4 program Bremner, Bird, and Fortune with John Fortune and Bremner. Former coworkers from the show praised his “modest” demeanor.
It’s ironic that one of our greatest satirists, so brilliant at portraying ministers, civil servants, or high-ranking officials who exuded self-satisfaction, was himself so modest and self-effacing, according to Scottish impressionist Bremner, 61.
“John Bird was never satisfied with himself, even to the end. He always felt he could have done better, had a more disciplined attitude, or had a later period like Brahms, “where everything was spare and abstract.”
The truth was that he, his friend and business partner John Fortune, and Peter Cook were staunch opponents of the status quo.
In a statement announcing his passing, it was stated that Bird passed away “peacefully” at the Pendean nursing home and that his life would be celebrated in the new year after a family funeral.
Bremner found it “striking” that Fortune, who passed away at age 74 on New Year’s Eve in 2013, passed away on Christmas Eve, “nine years, almost to the day” after Bird.

“Lord knows, satire has missed them this last decade and now that loss is permanent,” he added.

“John may not have felt he got his life right, but by God he got it written.”

Bird and Fortune became household names with their The Long Johns comedy skits, in which the double-act played bumbling politicians, military figures and businessmen.

They were nominated for four Baftas and won the television award for their performance in 1997.

John Bird, one of the greatest satirists in Britain, passes away at age 86. (3)
John Bird, one of the greatest satirists in Britain, passes away at age 86. (3)
Additionally, Bird, Bremner, and Fortune worked together on the Channel 4 series Rory Bremner, Who Else? as well as the BBC programs Now Something Else and The Rory Bremner Show.
In addition to the comedies Yes, Prime Minister, A Very Peculiar Practice, Chambers, and One Foot In The Grave, Bird also made appearances in the dramas Jonathan Creek, Inspector Morse, and Midsomer Murders.
The “highlight” of Bremner’s life, according to him, was witnessing Bird and Fortune at work, and he still “marvels at the genius of it all.”
Before the cameras started rolling, he said, Bird might be reticent and anxious, but once he had to perform, he would be “shamelessly playful.”
In a special titled The Last Laugh that aired on ITV’s The South Bank Show in 2007, Bird and Fortune brought their show back to life.
As the sketch “ridicules the city culture that led to the crash with astonishing perspicacity,” Bremner continued, it was possible to “understand the madness behind the 2008 financial crash” by watching the comedians’ portrayals of an investment banker and an interviewer.
“They realized that true satire lay not in ad hominem attacks on politicians but in exposing the cant behind the “discipline of the market” and the privatization culture where chief executives were compensated equally for success and failure,” he continued.
Bird, a Nottingham native, attended a grammar school before enrolling in Cambridge University, where he met Fortune, his comedy partner.
He also oversaw the 1959 Cambridge Footlights Revue, a yearly production of the university comedy club that included David Mitchell, Richard Ayoade, and Eric Idle, which featured actors Eleanor Bron and comedian Peter Cook.
John Bird, one of the greatest satirists in Britain, passes away at age 86. (1)
John Bird, one of the greatest satirists in Britain, passes away at age 86. (1)

Bird then joined the Royal Court Theatre as an assistant director, hosted the first episode of Beyond The Fringe, directed Austrian-American singer Lotte Lenya in a Brecht revue and opened nightclub the Establishment Club with Cook in London, and New York.

He is survived by his stepsons Dan and Josh.


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