Timothy Julian Brooke-Taylor OBE was an English comedian and actor. He became active in performing in comedy sketches while at Cambridge University, and became President of the Footlights club, touring internationally with the Footlights revue in 1964. Becoming wider known to the public for his work on BBC Radio with I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again, he moved into television with At Last the 1948 Show working together with old Cambridge friends John Cleese and Graham Chapman. He was best known as a member of The Goodies, starring in the television series throughout the 1970s and picking up international recognition in Australia and New Zealand. He had also appeared as an actor in various sitcoms, and had been a panellist on I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue for over 50 years.
Early life and education
Brooke-Taylor was born in Buxton, Derbyshire, England, the grandson of Francis Pawson, a parson who played centre forward for the English football team in the 1880s. His mother was an international lacrosse player and his father a solicitor. He was expelled from primary school at the early age of five and a half. Brooke-Taylor was then schooled at Thorn Leigh Pre-Preparatory School, Holm Leigh Preparatory School (where he won a cup for his prowess as a bowler in the school cricket team) and Winchester College which he left with seven O-levels and two A-levels in English and History.
After teaching for a year at Lockers Park School, a preparatory school in Hemel Hempstead and a term back at Holm Leigh School as a teacher, he studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge. There he read Economics and Politics before changing to read Law, and mixed with other budding comedians, including John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Bill Oddie, Graeme Garden and Jonathan Lynn in the Cambridge University Footlights Club (of which Brooke-Taylor became President in 1963).
The Footlights Club revue, A Clump of Plinths was so successful during its Edinburgh Festival Fringe run, that the show was renamed as Cambridge Circus and the revue transferred to the West End in London, before being taken to both New Zealand and Broadway in the United States in September 1964. He was also active in the Pembroke College drama society, the Pembroke Players.
Brooke-Taylor married Christine Weadon in 1968 and they had two sons, Ben and Edward. He lived in Berkshire.
He was a passionate supporter of Derby County Football Club .
He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to light entertainment.
Brooke-Taylor died on 12 April 2020 after contracting COVID-19.
- Father of Ben and Edward
- Studied Law at Pembroke College at Cambridge University in England – swapping notes with his friend, John Cleese, who was also studying law.
- He became a member of the prestigious Cambridge University Footlights Club, and later became its President.
- Was a cast member of the highly successful radio show “I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again”. Other cast members included Bill Oddie, Graeme Garden, John Cleese, Jo Kendall, and David Hatch.
- Went to the United States with the Footlights stage show “Cambridge Circus” in 1964, and appeared on the “Ed Sullivan Show”.
- Was a regular on the BBC Radio programme “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.” Other cast members included Humphrey Lyttelton, Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden, and William Rushton.
- Rector of University of St Andrews, Scotland from 1980-1983.
- He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to Light Entertainment.