Friends take just a minute to recall Sir Clement Freud

His brother Lucian was noticeably absent, but Britain's artistic and literary elite turned out in force yesterday for the funeral of Sir Clement Freud, who died last week.

On what would have been the broadcaster and bon viveur's 85th birthday, friends, colleagues, politicians and relatives paid their respects to a man whose hang-dog looks and razor-sharp intellect made him one the nation's most memorable wits.

Colleagues from Just A Minute, the BBC Radio 4 panel game which Sir Clement joined in 1967 and on which he was a regular guest for more than 40 years, joined Gordon Brown, Bono, Paul Merton, Lord Steel and Freud's children, Matthew and Emma, at St Bride's, the church off Fleet Street which journalists traditionally use to say farewell to their colleagues.

The ceremony featured a number of carefully chosen readings and quintessentially British hymns to reflect Sir Clement's love for his adopted country, to which his family fled in the 1930s to escape Nazi persecution.

In a reference to Sir Clement's love of wine, Mr Brown read "The Wedding At Cana", the Bible story about Jesus turning water into wine. In a speech afterwards, Mr Brown said that Sir Clement, who once agreed to advertise dog food if he was paid the same salary as the Prime Minister, was "not only a national treasure but became within his own right a national institution". "Clement Freud had the greatest asset of all, a wonderful wife, Jill, and a wonderful family that have done so much for our national life," he added.

Stephen Fry, who often sparred with Sir Clement on Just A Minute, said: "It was far and away the most wonderful funeral service I have ever attended, if a funeral service can be wonderful. It was touching, elegant, funny, beautifully, beautifully organised. It was really remarkable."

Matthew Freud, the public relations magnate and founder of Freud Communications, fondly recalled his father's three key passions: writing, food and gambling. "If words were his craft, then eating was his purpose ... cooking and eating were in almost every article," he said. He also thanked the honest undertakers who returned £2,000 they found in his father's suit.

Sir Clement, grandson of Sigmund Freud, had not spoken to his equally famous younger brother, the reclusive painter Lucian Freud, for decades. They fell out when they were younger.

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before