I was saddened to read of the sudden death of Mel Smith, who suffered a heart attack in the early hours of this morning aged 60.

I wouldn’t say he was one of my all time favourite comics but I always had a soft spot for him.

I appreciated the fact that Smith always seemed to be cut from a different cloth to the Oxbridge comics that tended to dominate British sketch shows and sitcoms.

His working class sensibility could be therefore seen as precursor of the so-called alt.comedy movement that initially at least, had a similar impact that punk rock had on the mainstream music scene.

I liked his droll, deadpan expression that reminded me a lot of Oliver Hardy.

After Not The Nine O’Clock News and Alas Smith And Jones, he always appeared to struggle to find the right vehicle for his talents. A film he wrote and starred in called Morons From Outer Space, died a death at the box office and he was never someone you could imagine as a movie actor.

Rightly, he will probably be best remembered for his head to head sketches with Griff Rhys-Jones like this one: