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The 'master' of film critics, Barry Norman, dies aged 83

barry norman
(Image credit: PA Archive/PA Images)

The long-time host of the BBC's Film review show Barry Norman has died in his sleep, his family say

The erudite, eternally popular film critic Barry Norman died on Friday night, according to his family.

The BBC presenter died in his sleep at the age of 83.

Mr Norman's daughters, Samantha and Emma, csaid: "He had a great life, a wonderful marriage and an enviable career."

They continued: "He leaves behind a family who adore him and a great roster of friends who love him too. We will miss him more than we can say."

He hosted BBC1's Film show for 26 years from 1972 as well as writing journalism for a number of newspapers including the Daily Mail.

His literary agent, Curtis Brown, described him as 'the defining voice of film criticism and insightful interviewing of screen legends from both sides of the camera'.

His wife Diana Norman, who wrote a series of best-selling historical thrillers under the name Ariana Franklin, died in 2011 aged 77.

The couple met while working as journalists and married in 1957.

Norman said at the time: “I was working as a gossip writer on the Daily Sketch for my sins, which was the only job I could get, and she was working as a very highly respected writer on the Daily Herald, as it was then.

“We met in Fleet Street and married.”

Tributes are being paid to his critical acumen and insight on Twitter, especially by those who knew him well, such as fellow film critic Mark Kermode.

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The son of film director Leslie and Elizabeth Norman, Mr Norman was made a CBE in 1998.

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 


An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.