Syd Little was among mourners at Eddie Large’s funeral today after the comedian died in hospital from coronavirus while being treated for heart failure.
Around 50 well-wishers turned out to show their support for the comedian as his body was taken to a crematorium in Portishead, Somerset this afternoon.
Glasgow-born Eddie, whose real name was Edward Hugh McGinnis, was known for his partnership with Syd which spanned five decades after winning Opportunity Knocks in 1971.
Eddie, a lifelong Manchester City fan who lived with his wife Patsy in Portishead, near Bristol, died alone in hospital because of a ban on visitors during the current crisis with his son Ryan saying ‘his heart was sadly not strong enough to fight’ coronavirus. He had a heart transplant in 2003.
Syd Little, 77, touches the hearse carrying his old friend Eddie Large at South Bristol Crematorium today
Little rests his head on his wife’s shoulder after saying goodbye to Eddie. Little and Large met in a Wythenshawe pub when Eddie heckled Syd during a stand-up routine and the duo would become among the biggest stars of the 1970s and 1980s – at their peak up to 25million viewers would watch their weekly TV show
Heartbroken comedian Little was supported by his wife at the funeral of his on screen sidekick as he joined mourners
Eddie Large is applauded as his coffin arrives at South Bristol Crematorium in Portishead, Somerset today
Those wishing to say goodbye had been asked to gather outside his home in Portishead, Somerset by his wife Patsy, 76. She had urged people to adhere to strict social distancing rules while paying their respects amid strict rules on funeral attendance amid the pandemic.
Syd, 77, was among those in attendance – Eddie’s comedy partner on ‘The Little and Large Show’ – and could be seen shedding a tear.
A football made up of blue and white flowers – the colours of the comedian’s beloved Manchester City – were placed on the coffin in the hearse.
The procession went from Eddie’s home down the nearby High Street, where more people turned out to applaud. His funeral is taking place at South Bristol Crematorium – where Syd will be giving the eulogy.
Patsy – Eddie’s wife of 36 years – said previously: ‘Of course Syd had to give the eulogy and send Eddie off on his final journey. It’s their final appearance together.’
People initially gathered outside Eddie’s home, overlooking the marina in Portishead.
An onlooker said: ‘There were around 50 people there – between 40 and 50. Patsy and Syd were there. They were welling up.
‘The car pulled up and got a round of applause. They took it in turns to go to the back and pay their respects. The coffin had a blue and white football on, and some flowers.
‘After that the car left to another round of applause. The went from the marina and drove down the High Street.
‘There was a scattering of people – about 30 – lining the road. They applauded as he went past. All the family looked like they were in cars following behind.’
Little and Large met in a Wythenshawe pub when Eddie heckled Syd during a stand-up routine and the duo would become among the biggest stars of the 1970s and 1980s – at their peak up to 25million viewers would watch their weekly TV show.
But in the 1990s Eddie suffered health problems, leading to the premature end of their act, and they were last seen on screen together in February 2019 for a celebrity special of the BBC’s Pointless gameshow.
Mr Large, who was famous for his singing and impressions, is the most famous Briton to be killed by coronavirus, which has now claimed almost 3,000 lives in the UK with deaths hitting 500-a-day.
The comedian’s heartbroken son Ryan McGinnis attended the funeral alongside his mother Patsy today. Eddie, a lifelong Manchester City fan, lived with his wife Patsy in Portishead, near Bristol
Mr Large, who was famous for his singing and impressions, is the most famous Briton to be killed by coronavirus, which has now claimed almost 3,000 lives in the UK with deaths hitting 500-a-day (pictured, his coffin arrives in Portishead today)
An applause for Eddie Large was held at his funeral in Portishead, Somerset today. Many gathered outside his home as the hearse processed through the town
Little and Large met in a Wythenshawe pub when Eddie heckled Syd during a stand-up routine and the duo would become among the biggest stars of the 1970s and 1980s – at their peak up to 25million viewers would watch their weekly TV show (Syd Little is pictured at Eddie’s funeral today)
Flowers in the colours of Eddie’s beloved Manchester City were placed over his coffin and theme music from the Little and Large show was also played
Eddie’s brother joined Syd Little at the funeral today. Around 50 well-wishers turned out to show their support for the comedian as his body was taken to a crematorium
Those wishing to say goodbye had been asked to gather outside his home in Portishead, Somerset by his wife Patsy, 76. She had urged people to adhere to strict social distancing rules while paying their respects
Wellwishers applaud the hearse carrying comedy legend Eddie Large through the streets of Portishead towards South Bristol Crematorium
The comedian’s heartbroken son Ryan McGinnis wrote on Facebook earlier this month: ‘It is with great sadness that mum and I need to announce that my dad, Edward Mcginnis, passed away in the early hours of this morning. He had been suffering with heart failure and unfortunately, whilst in hospital, contracted the coronavirus, which his heart was sadly not strong enough to fight.
‘Dad had fought bravely for so long. Due to this horrible disease we had been unable to visit him at the hospital but all of the family and close friends spoke to him every day.
‘We will miss him terribly and we are so proud of everything he achieved in his career with Syd and know that he was much loved by the millions that watched them each week. RIP Dad. We love you and miss you from all the family.’
Large, who was born in Glasgow but grew up in Manchester, formed his double act with Little in 1963.
The pair went on to win Opportunity Knocks and appeared regularly on TV for the next 20 years.
Their prime-time BBC One series The Little And Large Show attracted huge audiences before it was axed in 1991.
In 2010, Large, who was famous for interrupting his co-star, revealed he had not spoken to Little for some time.
‘I haven’t seen Syd for years. He lives up near Blackpool and I live near Bristol, so I haven’t spoken to him for a long time,’ he told TV Times. But Syd said they spoke more regularly after that.
Mourners gather to see off the cortege for Eddie Large’s funeral which went down Portishead High Street to be waved off by fans. Portishead
Around 50 well-wishers turned out to show their support for the comedian as his body was taken to a crematorium. Eddie, 78, died in hospital earlier on April 2 after contracting coronavirus
Wellwishers applaud the hearse carrying comedy legend Eddie Large through the streets of Portishead towards South Bristol Crematorium
Those wishing to say goodbye had been asked to gather outside his home in Portishead, Somerset by his wife Patsy, 76. She had urged people to adhere to strict social distancing rules while paying their respects (pictured, some mourners were allowed to attend the funeral in Portishead today)
Syd Little and his wife, Sheree, arrive to see the hearse containing his comedy legend partner Eddie Large, before it drove through the streets of Portishead towards South Bristol Crematorium
Syd Little during Eddie Large’s funeral in which the cortege went down Portishead High Street to be waved off by fans
People watch the funeral procession of the comedian Eddie Large at the apartment block in Portishead where Eddie lived in recent years with people coming out to commemorate him
The father of three had a successful heart transplant in 2003 – but it appears that the organ began to fail before his death, leading to his hospital admission in Bristol.
Stars of the his era today paid tribute to the star, including Michael Barrymore, Timmy Mallett and Tommy Cannon, from Cannon and Ball, who called him a ‘kind’ and ‘generous’ man, as well as an extraordinarily gifted comedian.
A tweet from Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly’s joint Twitter account said: ‘So sad to hear about the passing of Eddie Large. We had the pleasure of working with him and Sid a few years ago. He just loved making people laugh. He will be missed. Our thoughts are with his family at this time. X’
Little Britain’s Matt Lucas paid tribute on Twitter, writing: ‘Eddie Large (along with his supersonic friend Syd) was really lovely and kind and encouraging to me when I was a nipper on Shooting Stars. So sad to hear of his passing.’
Sir Lenny Henry tweeted: ‘Eddie Large died. Midnight Matinee Great Yarmouth 1978. They finished part one. I’d never heard laughter like it. Rude, raucous and rollicking. Dunno how they did it, but Eddies energy and electricity and impressions and props and improv were hugely impressive. R.I.P.’
Eddie Large, pictured with his wife Patsy at home in Portishead after he had a heart transplant in 2003, was in hospital as the organ failed and contracted coronavirus
Eddie Large, pictured with Syd Little at the height of their fame in 1985, has died after contracting coronavirus in hospital during heart treatment
Little and Large pictured dressed as jockeys for Derby Dayu in 1984, around the height of their fame
Little and Large were last seen together in February 2019 on a celebrity special of BBC quiz show Pointless
Mr Large, pictured on Good Morning Britain in 2017, was described as ‘kind’ and ‘talented’ by those who knew him
Little and Large (pictured left and right in 1977) met in a Wythenshawe pub when Eddie heckled Syd during a stand-up routine and the duo would become among the biggest stars of the 1970s and 1980s – at their peak up to 25million viewers would watch their TV show.
Eddie Large (centre) is pictured in February 1986 with Roger Daltrey (left) and his comedy partner, Syd Little (right)
Paul Chuckle remembered Large as a ‘funny and lovely man’ in a tweet, writing: ‘RIP the very talented Eddie Large. Such a funny and lovely man. Love goes out to his family at this time.’
Frank Bruno tweeted: ‘RIP Eddie Large of Little & Large we spent loads of quality time together including pantomimes and TV appearances Funny funny man & great to work with.’
Actress Kate Robbins remembered Large as a ‘great chap’.
She tweeted: ‘Sorry to hear the comedian Eddie Large has died. What a great chap he was. A real pro. Rest in peace Eddie ‘.
Jason Manford tweeted: ‘So sorry to hear about Eddie Large passing away. Came to every comedy and musical show I did whenever I hit Bristol and was always around for a chat about comedy and Man City afterwards. Such a gentle, funny man. RIP Eddie.’
Film director Edgar Wright shared an anecdote on Twitter, writing: ‘In the 80’s my family were on the M5, overtaking a car with a massive Little & Large decal on the back. I was bemused a sticker even existed, then floored to see Eddie Large himself driving (with Syd in shotgun). I waved furiously. My 1st celebrity sighting & still the best. RIP.’
When Opportunity first Knocked! How Eddie Large formed comedy duo with Syd Little after heckling him in pub… before pair won iconic TV show in 1971
Edward Hugh McGinnis, better known as Eddie Large, was born in Glasgow on June 25 1941.
His family moved to Manchester when he was nine. He soon became an avid football fan and a devoted follower of Manchester City, with the family living right opposite the ground.
After leaving school he qualified as an electrician and also worked as a singer.
It was in the early 1960s that he met his comedy partner Syd Little in a pub in the Wythenshawe area of the city. Eddie Heckled Syd during his stand-up routine and the pair became firm friends, launching their joint comedy career as an official double act in 1963.
They appeared on the TV talent show Opportunity Knocks and won the series in 1971, paving the way for their own prime-time BBC one programme – The Little And Large Show.
The show attracted huge audiences and peaked at 25million viewers. It was eventually axed in 1991. They also found success doing impressions on the BBC show Who Do You Do?, as well as starring in pantomimes.
Eddie Large is pictured with his wife Patsy Ann Scott at the BAFTAs in west London in March 2004. They had three children together
When their time on TV came to an end, the pair toured theatres and caravan parks across Britain, but Eddie’s declining ill-health started to become a problem.
‘Syd was living it with me every minute of every day. When we did panto in Wimbledon he spent every day going to pharmacists, buying stuff to help me breathe,’ Eddie told the Daily Mirror three years ago.
He was rushed to hospital in 2002 with kidney problems, with Syd close behind his wife and three children at his bedside.
After he was discharged, he told his old friend he was no longer able to perform with him.
He underwent a heart transplant at Papworth Hopsital near Cambridge in 2003 and made a full recovery.
He lived a quiet life at home with his wife Patsy and their three sons in Portishead, near Bristol.
In 2006 he starred on a celebrity version of The Weakest Link on the BBC and brought out an autobiography called Larger Than Life in 2005.
Eddie Large’s show with Syd Little achieved huge success, peaking at 25million viewers (one episode pictured)
Eddie and Syd found huge success on their self-titled TV show in the 1970s – The Little and Large Show (pictured)
The two friends are pictured dressed as chickens for a skit on their primetime BBC programme The Little And Large Show
Large (left) was best-known for being half of comedy due Little and Large with his partner and lifelong friend Syd Little (right)
Large also appeared on Who Do You Do on the BBC in the 1970s (pictured on one episode during that time)
In 2010, Eddie, who was famous for interrupting his co-star, revealed he had not spoken to Little for some time.
‘I haven’t seen Syd for years. He lives up near Blackpool and I live near Bristol, so I haven’t spoken to him for a long time,’ he told TV Times. But Syd claimed they spoke more regularly after that.
In 2013 he nearly died after tripping over a road sign near his house. He suffered three broken ribs and a collapsed lung and was in hospital for three months after contracting pneumonia.
Later that year he embarked on a comedy project without Little, a parody of Serge Gainsbourg’s Je T’aime entitled Gee Musky… Moi Non Plus.
He last appeared on TV in August 2017 – on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
News of his death was met with tributes from across the TV and comedy world. Syd Little described his passing as ‘devastating’, saying: ‘He wasn’t a partner, we were friends.’