Orville the Duck ventriloquist Keith Harris dies aged 67

Keith Harris has died at the age of 67 following a battle with cancer.

The ventriloquist will be remembered by fans for his peformances with puppet Orville the Duck. At the height of his fame in the 1980s, Keith had his own BBC One Saturday night programme The Keith Harris Show and reached number four in the british charts with Orville's Song, popularly known as I Wish I Could Fly, in 1982.

His agent Robert C Kelly confirmed the sad news on Twitter this morning...

"Sad to announce death from cancer of my client, dear friend and great talent, Keith Harris," he wrote.

"With his sidekicks Orville and Cuddles, Keith has entertained generations of British children. At his height between 1982 and 1990 Harris had his own BBC One Saturday night programme The Keith Harris Show followed between 1990 and 1993 by The Quack Chat Show."

He added: "I met Keith during the summer season at The Gaiety Theatre in Ayr in 1992 and we very quickly became great friends. That relationship subsequently moved onto a business footing when Keith asked me to manage him. Despite that, we were always friends first.

"I spoke to Keith most days whether we had business to do or not. I think I laughed every single time we spoke. Keith was not only a technically great ventriloquist, he was also a gifted mimic and an extraordinarily funny man both onstage and off. Perhaps even rarer than that in showbiz, he was a thoroughly decent man, a great friend and a wonderful father and husband.

"The family have asked for privacy at this time."

Keith leaves behind his fourth wife Sarah, and his children Kitty and Shenton; as well as a daughter, Skye, from his first marriage to singer Jacqui Scott and his mother Lila and brother Colin.


Sean Marland

Sean is a Senior Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week, who also writes for whattowatch.com. He's been covering the world of TV for over 15 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are I'm Alan Partridge, The Wire, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.