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Leonard Rossiter remembered


Leonard Rossiter remembered

Image: ATV Network / ITV

Leonard Rossiter remembered

Channel 5 celebrate the life and times of a comedy icon

The broadcaster looks back over a career that took in serious drama, action series and legendary sitcoms.

Now, nearly 40 years after Rossiter’s death, his friends, co-stars and fans have reunited for a celebration of his life and career, among them Don Warrington, Sue Nicholls and Mark Lester.

This 90-minute documentary includes a never-before-seen interview with Rossiter himself and brings new perspectives on one of Britain’s best-loved actors, from his upbringing in Liverpool to his remarkable, late-blossoming TV career that took in shows such as Rising Damp, Steptoe and Son, Z Cars, The Avengers, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and guest spots on shows such as ATV’s Celebrity Squares.

Leonard Rossiter on YTV’s Rising Damp

Rossiter was a complex and private individual who never sought public acclaim for his performances, yet he sought perfection in every aspect of his life, whether performing comedy gold in TV studios or winning countless victories over his friends during tennis matches.

He kept his private life out of the spotlight as much as possible and was a loving husband and father who enjoyed fine wines and family dinner parties.

But his family were stunned to learn of the affair he had with Sue MacGregor a BBC radio presenter, which had remained a secret until the publication of her memoirs 18 years after his death. Rossiter’s devotion to tennis and football had kept him at the peak of fitness, but he died from a heart attack in 1984 at the age of 57, while waiting to appear on stage in London. David John, a member of the cast from his last production, shares a moving tribute to a remarkable talent taken too soon.

Leonard Rossiter, tonight at 9 pm on Channel 5

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