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8 Out Of 10 Cats panellist and comedian Sean Lock dies aged 58

Comedian Sean Lock, star of 8 Out Of 10 Cats, has died of cancer aged 58 surrounded by his family at home.

The TV star, known for his surreal content and deadpan style, was a much-loved team captain on Jimmy Carr’s popular Channel 4 comedy panel show and its spin-off 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

Father-of-three Lock, who had two daughters and one son with his wife Anoushka, appeared on Have I Got News for You, QI, and They Think It’s All Over – and also wrote and starred in the popular BBC sitcom 15 Storeys High.

British comedians paid tribute today including friend Lee Mack, who called him a ‘true original both in comedy and life’, and Jon Richardson, his fellow captain on 8 Out Of Ten Cats, who praised his ‘incredible comic brain’.

Lock’s agent described him as ‘one of Britain’s finest comedians’, adding that his ‘boundless creativity, lightning wit and the absurdist brilliance of his work, marked him out as a unique voice in British comedy’. 

It is not known what form of a cancer Lock had battled, but he previously made a full recovery from skin cancer which he blamed on over-exposure to the sun while working on building sites before he became a comedian.

Sean Lock performs a stand-up routine for the Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall in London in March 2006

Sean Lock appeared on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown with Jimmy Carr, Jon Richardson, Rachel Riley and Susie Dent

Sean Lock appeared on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown with Jimmy Carr, Jon Richardson, Rachel Riley and Susie Dent

Lock is pictured showing his support to a crowdfunder by anti-food poverty organisation Edible London in December 2020

Lock is pictured showing his support to a crowdfunder by anti-food poverty organisation Edible London in December 2020

The TV star, known for his deadpan style, was a team captain on 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown (pictured in 2017)

The TV star, known for his deadpan style, was a team captain on 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown (pictured in 2017)

Katherine Jenkins and Sean Lock during the recording of the Graham Norton Show at the London Studios December 2010

Katherine Jenkins and Sean Lock during the recording of the Graham Norton Show at the London Studios December 2010

A statement from his agent Off The Kerb Productions said: ‘It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of Sean Lock. He died at home from cancer, surrounded by his family.

‘Sean was one of Britain’s finest comedians, his boundless creativity, lightning wit and the absurdist brilliance of his work, marked him out as a unique voice in British comedy.

‘For me shoes are just a barrier between dog s*** and my socks’: Sean Lock’s ten best jokes

  • ‘Some people say the glass is half empty or half full but to me that’s irrelevant because I’m having another drink.’
  • ‘I’m not sure what my biggest fear is. It’s either me saying yes to Strictly… or them saying no.’
  • ‘I’d like to be more in tune with other people’s feelings… so I can pinpoint their weaknesses and go for them more effectively when I do.’
  • ‘There’s one good reason for horror films, it’s an opportunity for intimacy between teenagers. It’s ideal because if you take someone to see Saw 2, anything you do to them afterwards will seem like a treat.’ 
  • ‘I hear voices. But I ignore them and just carry on killing.’
  • ‘I like the bonfire thing. I had to take the RSPCA advice quite seriously because they said you should check under your bonfire for sleeping hedgehogs. I couldn’t find any, but luckily I had some in the freezer.’
  • ‘You got your bag for life?’ Too bloody right I have. Now fill it with vodka or fags. I’m ironic. Let’s see who goes first, me or the bag.’
  • ‘I’ll tell you one thing: I think Nasa killed Michael Jackson. He died the same week as the anniversary of the initial moon landing, of the first moonwalk. They resent the fact that any time anyone puts ‘moonwalk’ into Google or anything, it cones up with him sliding backwards with a hat on and not the billions they spent going up to do a moonwalk. They hated that, and they killed him.’
  • ‘I don’t like the Queen. I think it’s absurd that we have a queen. Basically what we’re saying is that we’re no more sophisticated than bees.’
  • ‘For me shoes are just a barrier between dog s*** and my socks.’

‘Sean was also a cherished husband and father to three children. Sean will be sorely missed by all that knew him. We kindly request that the privacy of his family and children is respected at this difficult time.’

Comedian Lee Mack, who was a close friend, paid tribute saying: ‘I’ve known this day was coming for some time, but it’s no less heart-breaking. A true original both in comedy and life. I will miss him so much.’

And his 8 Out of Ten Cats colleague Jon Richardson said: ‘I idolised Sean as a comic long before I became a comedian myself and ten years working alongside him didn’t diminish that in the least. 

‘An incredible comic brain and a truly unique voice. I’m devastated for his family today and sad for comedy that we have lost one of the very best. Undisputed, undefeated, carrot in a box champion. I will miss him.’

Susie Dent, who worked alongside Lock on 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown from ‘Dictionary Corner’, has also paid tribute to him.

She wrote on Twitter: ‘I wish I had the words to describe the exceptional man that was Sean Lock. But today I don’t, and I think he might have liked it that way.’

Comedian Alan Davies also paid tribute to ‘hilarious’ Lock, writing on Twitter: ‘Sad news about Sean Lock. Funny on stage, hilarious off. We met in 1988 right at the start of our stand up careers. I hadn’t seen him in recent years as he quietly wrestled with illness but I feel very sad today for Anoushka and their children. RIP, Locky.’  

Pointless host Richard Osman, who worked with Sean Lock as a producer on panel show 8 Out Of 10 Cats, wrote on Twitter: ‘Over 15 years producing 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Sean Lock made me laugh so much and so often. A unique and brilliant comic voice. Love to his family and his many friends.’

Eddie Izzard also paid tribute to Lock, saying: ‘So sorry to hear this. Farewell Sean, you brought a wonderful comedic talent to the world and you will be missed’. Gary Lineker added: ‘Awful news. Such a funny man.’

And comedian Jason Manford paid tribute to Lock, saying that he had texted the comedian ‘a few weeks’ prior to his death. He wrote on Twitter: ‘I’m absolutely gutted about this. So heartbroken for his wife and children.

‘One of the funniest men I’ve ever worked with and I used to adore occasionally making him laugh on my first proper telly job, 8 Out of 10 Cats. I texted him couple of weeks ago and I’m now so glad I did. If you’ve a friend who you’ve not spoken to for a while, drop them a message and check in. It could be the last time.’

And comedian David Baddiel said: ‘Devastated to hear about Sean Lock. He toured with Newman and Baddiel on our last show together. One of the funniest men I ever knew.’ 

Jon Richardson, his fellow captain on 8 Out Of Ten Cats, said Lock was 'an incredible comic brain and a truly unique voice'

Jon Richardson, his fellow captain on 8 Out Of Ten Cats, said Lock was ‘an incredible comic brain and a truly unique voice’

Presenter Gabby Logan, who has appeared alongside Sean Lock on 8 Out Of 10 Cats, paid tribute to the comedian ‘who could make your cheeks ache from laughing’.

Comedy world mourns  ‘one of the very best’

The world of comedy has paid tribute to ‘one of the very best’ following the death of Sean Lock aged 58.

Jon Richardson, who was a team captain alongside Lock on Channel 4’s 8 Out Of 10 Cats and 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, led tributes to the 15 Storeys High star. Richardson tweeted: ‘I idolised Sean as a comic long before I became a comedian myself and ten years working alongside him didn’t diminish that in the least. An incredible comic brain and a truly unique voice. I’m devastated for his family today and sad for comedy that we have lost one of the very best. Undisputed, undefeated, carrot in a box champion. I will miss him.’

Comedian Jason Manford said he had texted the comedian ‘a few weeks’ prior to his death. He wrote on Twitter: ‘I’m absolutely gutted about this. So heartbroken for his wife and children. One of the funniest men I’ve ever worked with and I used to adore occasionally making him laugh on my first proper telly job, 8 Out of 10 Cats. I texted him couple of weeks ago and I’m now so glad I did. If you’ve a friend who you’ve not spoken to for a while, drop them a message and check in. It could be the last time.’

Channel 4, for which Lock hosted TV Heaven, Telly Hell, paid tribute on Twitter. The channel said: ‘Incredibly sad to learn of the loss of one of our greatest comedians, Sean Lock. A much loved part of the C4 family he’s played a huge role on the channel for over two decades, and we’ll miss him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.’

Pointless host Richard Osman, who worked with Lock as a producer on panel show 8 Out Of 10 Cats, wrote on Twitter: ‘Over 15 years producing ‘8 Out Of 10 Cats’ Sean Lock made me laugh so much and so often. A unique and brilliant comic voice. Love to his family and his many friends.’

Lock’s good friend Lee Mack also paid tribute to him, saying in a statement: ‘I’ve know this day was coming for some time, but it’s no less heart-breaking. A true original both in comedy and life. I will miss him so much’.

She tweeted: ‘Just awful to hear the news about Sean Lock, I was lucky enough to watch his genius comedy up close when appearing on 8/10 Cats a good few times.’ 

She added: ‘Love and light to all of his family and friends.’

Comedian Bill Bailey paid tribute, saying: ‘It’s heartbreaking to lose my dearest friend Sean Lock, he was a true original, a wonderful comic. All my thoughts are with his family.’

Comedian Ross Noble said: ‘With the passing of Sean Lock we have lost the best of the best. He made me laugh like few others do. 

‘A massive talent who made stand-up look effortless and approached his illness in the same no-nonsense way he approached life. A great loss.’

And Tim Vine tweeted: ‘Very sad to hear about Sean Lock. One of my absolute favourite comics. Always always made me laugh. RIP, Sean.’

Meanwhile a Channel 4 spokesman said: ‘Incredibly sad to learn of the loss of one of our greatest comedians, Sean Lock’, the channel wrote on Twitter.

‘A much loved part of the C4 family he’s played a huge role on the channel for over two decades, and we’ll miss him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.’

And a tweet from quiz show QI said: ‘We are deeply saddened to hear of Sean Lock’s passing. 

‘Sean was a QI regular right from the first series, and helped to shape the show with his fantastically sharp wit and anarchic good humour. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.’

Born in Woking, Surrey, the comedy star and Chelsea FC fan left school in the early 1980s and began working on building sites but developed skin cancer, which he blamed on over-exposure to the sun.

He made a full recovery and focused on a career in comedy. 

One of his first professional TV appearances was in 1993, starring alongside Rob Newman and David Baddiel on their signature TV show Newman And Baddiel In Pieces.

He script-edited the 1998 BBC Two series, Is It Bill Bailey? and had his own show on BBC Radio 4 called 15 Minutes Of Misery, which was later expanded into TV series 15 Storeys High.

The show was set in a tower block and centred on a pessimistic character called Vince (played by Lock) and his flatmate Errol, played by Benedict Wong.

In 2005 Lock became a regular team captain on the panel show 8 Out Of 10 Cats, a role he held for 18 series.

Sean Lock, pictured in North London in June 2018, has died of cancer aged 58 surrounded by his family at home

In 2005 Lock became a regular team captain on the panel show 8 Out Of 10 Cats, a role he held for 18 series

In 2005 Lock became a regular team captain on the panel show 8 Out Of 10 Cats, a role he held for 18 series 

Lock had his own show on BBC Radio 4 called 15 Minutes Of Misery, which was later expanded into TV series 15 Storeys High

Lock had his own show on BBC Radio 4 called 15 Minutes Of Misery, which was later expanded into TV series 15 Storeys High

Sean Lock is pictured performing during Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Ball 2008 at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2008

Comedian Sean Lock attends the British Comedy Awards at Fountain Studios in London in December 2012

Sean Lock is pictured performing during Amnesty International’s Secret Policeman’s Ball 2008 at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2008 (left) and at the British Comedy Awards at Fountain Studios in London in December 2012 (right)

Between 2006 and 2007 he hosted Channel 4 series, TV Heaven, Telly Hell, in which he invited celebrities to share their own selection of TV’s triumphs and tragedies.

Guests on the show included Alan Davies, Johnny Vaughan, David Mitchell, Bill Bailey, Johnny Vegas and Nick Hancock.

Speaking at the time, Lock said: ‘I think one of my all-time favourite shows is Catchphrase with Roy Walker. I loved it. I used to like Roy’s restraint, because, for a comedian, the opportunity to take the mick out of some of the ridiculous answers could have been too hard to resist.’

Lock also appeared on panel shows including Have I Got News for You, QI, and They Think It’s All Over. In 2000 he won the gong for the best live stand-up at the British Comedy Awards.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk