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Corbett reportedly up for knighthood

Press AssociationPress Association 1/04/2016

Ronnie Corbett died as officials were considering honouring him with a knighthood, according to reports.

It is understood a panel that bestows the titles had received letters from famous names in support of his nomination, that would have seen the actor and comedian become Sir Ronnie in the Queen's 90th Birthday Honours, if approved.

Corbett died on Thursday aged 85, having been one of Britain's most popular entertainers for decades.

According to the Daily Telegraph a low-key campaign led by comedian David Walliams to include Corbett on the Queen's Birthday Honours list was launched amid concerns over his deteriorating health.

Downton Abbey creator Lord Fellowes, who sits on the arts and media honours committee, told the newspaper he thought "he (Corbett) should have been awarded a knighthood," although he refused to discuss the workings of the panel.

Writing in the Daily Mail, a friend of the entertainer, Michael Thornton, said he contacted the Cabinet Office to propose a knighthood "several months ago".

He said there was a "virtual stampede on the part of celebrated figures" when it came to gathering letters in support of the nomination.

At the time Corbett was "fighting to survive" after being diagnosed with suspected amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a form of motor neurone disease, Mr Thornton said.

The entertainer's first honour came in 1978, when he was awarded the OBE alongside comedy partner Ronnie Barker, the pair household favourites at the time for their sketch show, The Two Ronnies.

In 2011 Corbett said he did not imagine he would receive a knighthood, adding that Barker, who died in 2005, should have been made Sir Ronnie.

Corbett was made CBE in 2012, although the knighthood some felt he also deserved eluded him.

Speaking in 2015, Sir Bruce Forsyth questioned why figures from the world of comedy "seem to be left out".

In a tribute to the diminutive comedian in The Sun on Friday the former Strictly Come Dancing host said: "A great big hole has been left in show business."

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