Arabic AR Chinese (Simplified) ZH-CN English EN French FR German DE Japanese JA Portuguese PT Russian RU Spanish ES Ukrainian UK

Barry Norman: ‘Best of film critics’ remembered at memorial

Latest news

    Barry Norman in 1995
    Image caption Norman, pictured in 1995, died in his sleep last June

    Stars, film-makers and journalists have come together to remember film critic Barry Norman at a memorial in London.

    Ken Loach, Chris Tarrant, Rory Bremner and Dame Maggie Smith were among those in attendance to hear Barry Cryer, David Puttnam and others pay tribute.

    Lord Puttnam remembered the long-time host of the BBC’s Film… programme as a “lovely man” with “an understanding as well as a knowledge” of cinema.

    The Film… show’s iconic theme tune was played as guests arrived.

    Norman, who hosted the programme between 1972 and 1998, died last year at the age of 83.

    Image caption The late broadcaster was one of the UK’s most respected film critics

    Lord Puttnam, Oscar-winning producer of Chariots of Fire and The Killing Fields, said Norman had had “an instinctive empathy for the film-making process”.

    Despite this, he continued, he had found some of the stars he interviewed to be “a pain in the neck” – among them Robert De Niro, with whom he memorably clashed in 1990, although their meeting ended with them shaking hands.

    Bruce Thompson, Norman’s long-time producer, remembered the presenter as a “king of the autocue” who “wrote every word” of the scripts he delivered.

    Irish playwright Frank McGuinness, meanwhile, said he had been “a wise friend”, “a gentle Englishman” and “the best of critics”.

    McGuinness remembered an occasion when their dinner date was delayed for hours by the number of Dublin film fans determined to shake his hand.

    Other tributes came from film critic Jason Solomons, who described Norman as “a mate, a mentor and a master” who had “showed us all how it should be done”.

    Later in the service Norman’s younger brother Richard remembered him as a “protective” sibling and a “warm, loving man” whom he had loved “warts and all”.

    Image copyright PA
    Image caption Norman, pictured with his wife Diana and daughters Samantha and Emma, was made a CBE in 1998

    Barry Cryer said he was “a master commentator… full of Norman wisdom” in a light-hearted poem he claimed to have written “while waiting for a laugh in Lowestoft”.

    He had, he continued, “the wit and style of Damon Runyon, even when describing a pickled onion” – a reference to the pickled onions to which he lent his name.

    Norman’s friend John Wringe revealed during the service that proceeds from his onions would help fund a bursary for budding young journalists.

    Other attendees at St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden included directors Alan Parker and John Madden, broadcasters Paul Gambaccini and Katie Derham and politicians Sir Vince Cable and Baroness Williams.

    View the original article:

    Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

    In the same category are

    Cliff Richard privacy case: I was not heavy-handed, says BBC reporter Image copyright PA Image caption Sir Cliff says he suffered "profound and long-lasting damage" from the BBC's coverage The BBC journalist who brok...
    Brexit: No 10 still ‘confident’ of Irish border solution Image copyright AFP No 10 says it is confident a deal can be done to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit despite signs of an i...
    New BBC Scotland TV channel given ‘provisional’ approval by Ofcom Broadcasting regulator Ofcom has given "provisional" approval to BBC's plans for a new TV channel for Scotland.Ofcom said that decision would now be...
    Kardashians pull the plug on Dash fashion stores Image copyright PA The Kardashians are closing their fashion boutiques, showing that even celebrities can't dodge the retail downturn. Kim Kardashia...
    Google’s SMS replacement ready to launch Image caption Chat adds modern features to Android's Messages app Google has started the global roll-out of its new Chat messaging service, which ...
    Comey memos detailing conversations of Trump meetings published Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption'No adequate people around Trump to contain him,' Comey saysMemos by ex-FBI director James...