Sean Lock death: 8 Out of 10 Cats star dies from cancer aged 58

Tributes poured in from the comedy world for the stand-up comic and TV panel show favourite

Jacob Stolworthy
Wednesday 18 August 2021 18:20
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The comedian Sean Lock has died at the age of 58.

The 8 Out of 10 Cats star had been suffering from cancer.

Lock, a stand-up comedian, also appeared on Have I Got News For You, Would I Lie To You? and QI.

He was best known for being the team captain on Channel 4 series 8 Out of 10 Cats, presented by Jimmy Carr, for 10 years from 2005. He was replaced by Rob Beckett in 2016.

Lock was also team captain alongside Jon Richardson on spin-off 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

Richardson said in a tweet that he “idolised” Lock long before he came to work in comedy himself.

In a statement, comic Lee Mack, a close friend of Lock, hailed him as “a true original both in comedy and life”.

He described the news as “heartbreaking”, adding: “I will miss him so much.”

A statement from Lock’s agent Off The Kerb Productions said: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of Sean Lock. He died at home from cancer, surrounded by his family.

“Sean was one of Britain’s finest comedians, his boundless creativity, lightning wit and the absurdist brilliance of his work, marked him out as a unique voice in British comedy.

“Sean was also a cherished husband and father to three children. Sean will be sorely missed by all that knew him. We kindly request that the privacy of his family and children is respected at this difficult time.”

Sean Lock performing at the Royal Albert Hall in 2006

Tributes from other comedians, including Bill Bailey and Eddie Izzard, also poured in after Lock’s death was announced.

Lock was diagnosed with skin cancer in 1990, and attributed the condition to overexposure to the sun while working as a builder in the early 1980s.

He became aware of the symptoms after spending the night with a woman named Tina, who alerted him to a mark on his back.

“She said there was something weird on my back,” he told the Daily Mail in 2010. “I asked her what it looked like, and she said it was a patch of skin which was black, misshapen, with a crusty texture and about the size of a 10p piece.

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Lock continued: “I had no idea how long it had been there. It didn’t hurt or itch, so there was nothing that would have drawn my attention to it.

“Being in the small of my back, it was not something you could easily see while looking in a mirror.”

Lock’s agent praised his ‘lightning wit and absurdist brilliance’

After seeing a GP, he was referred to a dermatologist at Guy’s Hospital, London. The piece of skin was removed and, after a biopsy, he found out he had malignant melanoma, more commonly referred to as skin cancer. He made a full recovery.

Lock’s early TV credits include an appearance on 1993 series Newman and Baddiel in Pieces. That same year he also performed with Rob Newman and David Baddiel at the 12,000 capacity Wembley Arena.

In 2000 he was nominated for a Perrier award at the Edinburgh Fringe and named Best Live Comic at the British Comedy Awards.

In 2001, he adapted Emile Zola’s 1887 novel La Terre for the film This Filthy Earth, which he co-wrote alongside director Andrew Kotting.

The following year, he created TV sitcom 15 Storeys High, which began life as a BBC Radio 4 series in the late 1990s.

Lock was an ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’ team captain for 10 years

The show, which he co-wrote with former Never Mind the Buzzcocks presenter Mark Lamarr, followed residents of a London tower block played by Lock and Benedict Wong.

News of Lock’s death led fans of the innovative sitcom to pay tribute on Twitter.

Comedian Alistair Green wrote: “15 Storeys High blew my mind when I first saw it. Like a modern day Hancock’s Half Hour. Sean Lock and @wongrel one of the funniest double acts ever.”

Lock was given his own Channel 4 show in 2006. TV Heaven, Telly Hell invited celebrity guests to select their television likes and dislikes.

In 2006, the comedian co-presented The Big Fat Quiz of the Year alongside James Corden and, one year later, he performed a gig at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust.

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