TV comedian and celebrity impersonator Mike Yarwood died aged 82 in hospital on Friday 8th September, the Royal Variety Charity has announced.


Yarwood was most known for his impressions of public figures including prime ministers Harold Wilson, Ted Heath and Prince Charles, among others, and was considered one of the biggest TV stars of the '60s and '70s.

In 1977, The Mike Yarwood Show broke records when it achieved one of the largest single Christmas Day audiences ever for a British TV programme, at 21.4 million viewers.

The Royal Variety Charity confirmed Yarwood's death in a statement, saying: “He leaves behind an immeasurable void in the entertainment industry.

"Mike Yarwood quickly rose to prominence for his exceptional ability to mimic the voices and mannerisms of countless celebrities and public figures. His talent for impersonation brought smiles to the faces of millions and his unique ability to capture the essence of his subjects made him an icon in the comedy world."

Comedian and impressionist Mike Yarwood holding a fez in his dressing room, circa 1988.
Mike Yarwood holding a fez in his dressing room. TV Times / Getty

“Throughout his career, Mike graced television screens nationwide, becoming a household name in the 1960s and 1970s. His variety shows, including The Mike Yarwood Show, and Mike Yarwood In Persons, captivated audiences and showcased his uncanny talent for mimicry on prime-time television for two decades.

The Royal Variety Charity stated that "Mike’s family have asked that their privacy be respected during this sad and difficult time.”

BBC Director-General Tim Davie paid tribute to Yarwood, saying: “Mike Yarwood was simply one of the greats. Part of the golden generation of entertainers that defined television for decades.

"From Harold Wilson to Frank Spencer, his legendary impressions were always pin sharp, warm and funny. We will remember them all with a smile. He was rightly one of Britain’s most loved performers and will be hugely missed. Our thoughts are with his family."

Actress and singer Kate Robbins also remembered Yarwood on her X (formerly known as Twitter) account, saying that he was "the guv’nor of impressionists".


Yarwood was born on 14 June 1941 in Bredbury, Cheshire and was a supporter of Stockport County Football Club. He is survived by two daughters.