“I’ve lost my first real telly chum and I’m certain I’m not alone in shedding tears for a true telly legend,” said Edmonds. “Cheggers and I launched Swap Shop together. Yes, we had the wonderful broadcaster John Craven to keep us in line but it was the chemistry between myself and Keith that initially created the Swap Shop magic that enthralled millions of children every Saturday morning on BBC1.
Keith Chegwin attends the Bafta Children’s Awards in 2015 (Getty)
“Only those who’ve presented live television really know how difficult it is to make it look easy,” he continued.
“I had the luxury of hosting the show from behind the desk in a warm studio but Keith was out on the road in all weathers. He was an extraordinary showman capable of entertaining a vast crowd of excited children during the long periods between his live contributions to the show.”
Edmonds also paid tribute to the professionalism of Chegwin, who worked on Swap Show between 1976 and 1982.
“I never saw Keith flustered or lost for words. In fact now I think about it I never saw him upset or angry. I never heard Cheggers say a bad word about anyone. Like all true professionals he possessed the knack of reinventing himself time and time again.
“He was a very generous performer,” Edmonds added. “Keith was indeed larger than life but he never stole the spotlight. He was an all-round entertainer- a very funny comedian and accomplished musician and singer. He was at his best on location, with a film crew chasing him and a member of the public about to be surprised on their doorstep.
“The greatest achievement for any TV performer is for the viewers to regard you as a friend and today millions will be grateful for Keith’s contribution to their childhood memories and like me they will mourn the passing of a friend.”