George Jeffrie: 1964-2020

Former WGGB Comedy Chair Dave Cohen pays tribute to acclaimed comedy writer George Jeffrie (pictured left)

We were shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of George Jeffrie (pictured above, left), a former WGGB member and the comedy writer who with Bert Tyler Moore (above, right) created some of the most popular and successful comedy of the last two decades, including the two Channel 4 hit shows Star Stories and The Windsors.

In between those they worked on dozens of sitcoms and sketch shows, including The KumarsMy FamilyTracey Ullman’s ShowIn With The Flynns and their own series Pete Versus Life. Which meant in our small world of comedy writing they were known by almost everyone in the business. Sanjeev Bhaskar called him “a lovely warm darling of a man and of course brilliantly funny” while Tracey Ullman producer Caroline Norris said: “He was so much fun to have on any team.”

George and Bert began writing sketches for Smack The Pony and Big Train and quickly became established as a partnership in demand by top producers and performers, including Dom Joly, Lenny Henry and Mitchell and Webb.

Around this time they developed their first hit show, the brilliant Star Stories created with Phil Clarke and Lee Hupfield at Objective TV. Their barely true tales featuring over-the-top impressions of superstars first aired in 2006 and were an instant hit. As the Radio Times pointed out years later, “No programme since has punctured the public image of celebrities with such childish glee.” No programme, that is, until the magnificently crude The Windsors, a brilliant satire of the Royal Family which has been delighting and shocking Channel 4 audiences since 2017.

The latest series, which aired this year was described by the Daily Telegraph as “highly treasonous”. Which comedy writer would not be proud of such an accolade? So long George we’ll miss you.