Torquay theatre stage manager’s tribute to comedian Eddie Large

Comedian Eddie Large being being treated for a serious heart problem at Papworth Hospital, near Cambridge in 1997 Picture: PA ImagesComedian Eddie Large being being treated for a serious heart problem at Papworth Hospital, near Cambridge in 1997 Picture: PA Images

Princess Theatre technical and stage manager Martyn Jenkins has paid tribute to Eddie Large after the well-known comedian fell victim to Conoronavirus.

Martyn, who has worked at the Torquay seafront theatre for 39 years, says Eddie and his long-time comedy partner Syd Little had appeared at the Princess many times.

The longest period was the summer season of 1983 and the last as a double act in 2001.

Martyn remembers: “With the main summer season show in 1983 they were top of the bill with and an ‘unknown’ support act called Michael Barrymore.

“The season was very memorable as the show started on June 10 and finished on October 1. It was a classic 16-week summer season.”

Martyn added: “They starred in shows in their own right and were very popular. They were absolutely at the top of their fame particularly during the 1983 summer season.

“Both Eddie and Syd were absolutely fantastic to work with.”

He says one of the most memorable moments of working with them was at the start of the second half of the 1983 summer show.

Martyn says: “The start of the second half involved a fully operational bouncy castle covering the whole of the stage and they carried out a Bill and Ben/Andy Pandy sketch.

“It was priceless. However, it was absolute chaos trying to deflate it as quickly and quietly as possible once the sketch had finished and the show was still continuing.”

Eddie died aged 78 after contracting the virus in hospital.

Little and Large were one of Britain’s best-loved comedy duos enjoying a career that spanned decades.

Syd has said in a statement: “Eddie had been ill for a while but when it happens it hits you.

“We were together 60 years. It wasn’t like having a partner. We were friends. We did everything there was to do in showbiz and we did it together.”

Michael Barrymore said on Twitter: “Eddie Large. He was such a funny and talented man. I was his support act for many years and he was nothing but kind caring and supportive to the upstart at the bottom of the Bill.”