Porridge Director Sydney Lotterby Leaves True Legacy Of Laughter

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Porridge Director Sydney Lotterby Leaves True Legacy Of Laughter

Tributes have been paid to the Bafta-winning TV comedy director and producer Sydney Lotterby, who has died aged 93.

Lotterby made British comedy classics including Porridge, Last Of The Summer Wine and Yes Minister.

The director was also known for As Time Goes By, Butterflies, May To December and Open All Hours.

BBC director general Lord Tony Hall said he will be “hugely missed”, but leaves “a true legacy of laughter”.

“Sydney Lotterby wasn’t just part of the golden age of British comedy – he made many of the shows that stand out as real icons of the period,” said Lord Hall.

BBC Entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba described him as “a giant of a golden TV age”.

Such is the enduring appeal of the prison-based comedy, starring Ronnie Barker; the BBC commissioned a revival, with Kevin Bishop playing the grandson of Barker’s character Fletch.

‘Porridge was pure luck’

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Speaking to The Stage and Television Today, in 1980, Lotterby rather modestly put his success down to good fortune.

“Absolute luck,” he said, when asked about his association with such comedy gold. “And I’ll prove it.”

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“Last of the Summer Wine wasn’t my programme at all,” he continued, “It was Jimmy Gilbert’s. He became the boss, somebody had to do and it fell to me.

“Porridge was pure luck. A long time ago – it must have been 1972 – Jimmy was producing and I was one of the two directors on a series built around Ronnie Barker and called Seven of One.

“Ronnie had just started to be talked about and I happened to fall for the script called Prisoner and Escort. That became Porridge.”

Porridge Director Sydney Lotterby Leaves True Legacy Of Laughter

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