Legendary British TV producer Michael Hurll has passed away peacefully aged 75.
Hurll oversaw much of the best comedy and entertainment programming that has aired in the last half century. He was responsible for 70s favourite Seaside Special, Blind Date and – perhaps most famously – Top of the Pops. He took over the music show during the 1980s and was credited for introducing its party atmosphere.
As well as producing live events like the Royal Variety Show, Comic Relief and the Eurovision Song Contest, Hurll devised the concept for the British Comedy Awards – a ceremony which has grown in popularity and notoriety ever since.
Hurll joined the BBC in 1956 as a call boy who brought on guests for the Billy Cotton Show and quickly rose up the ranks to stage manager and then director. During his star-studded career the 75-year-old worked alongside comedy greats such as The Two Ronnies, Billy Connelly and Bob Hope.
In recent years Hurll had been suffering from Parkinsons Disease.
Many of Hurll’s former colleagues in the TV industry have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to him:
RIP Michael Hurll. TOTP & Light Ent legendary producer. A mentor to me and many. He let us be us. And he led like a General.
— Mike Smith (@MikeSmithFTV) September 19, 2012
Television producer, Michael Hurll has died… The behind the scenes equivalent of a Wogan or Forsyth passing away. What a legacy.
— Greg Scott (@GregScottTV) September 20, 2012
RIP Michael Hurll; my mentor, producer of Entertainment USA, saviour of Top of the Pops, all round good guy.
— Jonathan King (@KingOfHits) September 20, 2012
RIP Legendary producer Michael Hurll. Lovely man who was always so nice to me and had me on comedy awards panel for ten years. A gent.
— Jonathan Harvey (@JOJEHARVEY) September 19, 2012
Sad news that comedy & entertainment producer Michael Hurll has passed away. A legend and v nice bloke. RIP.
— Lucy Lumsden (@lucylumsden) September 19, 2012