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Rod Hull falls to his death

ROD HULL'S most famous victim, Michael Parkinson, led the tributes yesterday after news broke that the 63-year-old puppeteer had fallen from the roof of his home and died.

Hull, who became famous in the Seventies with his deranged puppet, Emu, was adjusting the television aerial on the roof of his home in Winchelsea, East Sussex, to get better reception of Manchester United's European Cup match on Wednesday night.

His agent, Laurie Mansfield, said there remained some doubt over the details of the accident: "We're not a hundred per cent certain what happened but what we do know is that he was watching the football. The picture was bad and he went up on the roof to adjust it and fell off. What they're not too sure about is the possibility that he might have had a heart attack, either while he was up there or after he fell."

Mr Mansfield had been with Hull on Tuesday after the star had been in London to attend the first night of a West End play. "We had been talking about plans for the summer. He was planning to go out on the road again with Emu. We also had interest from TV companies to bring him back to television." Michael Parkinson said yesterday: "I am very sad to hear of Rod's death. He was a very charming, intelligent and sensitive man - quite unlike the Emu. The Emu was the dark side of Rod's personality, and very funny, provided it was not on top of you."

Hull was working as a children's entertainer on Australian television when he found the Emu puppet in a props cupboard. He returned to the UK in 1970 and at the height of his popularity had his own television series.

But his career floundered in the late Eighties and in 1994 he was declared bankrupt.