Liam Rudden: Old actors never die they live on through their work

Sean Hughes
Sean Hughes
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DEATH, it comes to us all. The only guarantee - this is going to be a cheery column I hear you say.

The famous, however, never die; they live on, ageless, through celluloid, video tape or whatever media happened to capture them when they were ordinary people with extraordinary lives, breathing the same air we all do, feeling the warmth of the same sun, or the splatter of the same rain if they were Scottish.

Nevertheless, no matter how well known they may have been, just like the rest of us when we are gone, no more will they nip down to the corner shop for a loaf, pop into their local for a pint, or amble down the familiar streets of their manor.

Depressing thoughts, they came with the news earlier this week that comedian Sean Hughes had died at the age of 51.

Celebrity deaths have become the stuff of Twitter frenzies over the last few years. Hughes’ was no different.

A public explosion of grief, #RIPs and eulogies from friends and strangers alike flooded timeliness.

It’s a reflection of the impact those individuals had on us and a reminder of our own mortality.

Last year, was particularly notable for celebrity deaths. So many iconic names went in quick succession, Bowie and Prince to name but two.

The world was rocked. Shocked. Thrown into dismay. Which, to be honest, in most cases I never fully understand.

Sure, it’s sad when someone whose work you admired goes, but reflecting on the rock’n’roll lifestyle many of them lived I’m often surprised they lasted as long as they did.

Others, who shuffle off in their 80s or 90s, well, it’s not really a surprise. No one lives for ever.

When you reach a certain age, however, it’s the news that the stars you grew up with are no longer around that jars. That guy off Grange Hill or that Doctor Who companion, or Blue Peter presenter.

All seemed so much older than they actually were back in the day. Something you never think about until they pop off and you discover they were scarcely more than a decade older than you.

It brings home the fact that while we still feel like we’re in out 20s (in our heads), we are actually getting on too.

A nagging whisper that our time too will come one day. That’s never more apparent than when someone younger passes, Sean Hughes for example, a man I interviewed a number of times. It’s his dry wit I’ll miss.

Listening to Visage as I write this I hear Steve Strange as clearly as when he was on the other end of the phoneline excitedly telling me about his latest venture.

He went early too. It’s strange to think of him now as a disembodied voice.

And there’s the rub, with endless reruns of decades old TV shows and films, it’s easy to forget many of the stars have gone, after all, Ronnie Barker is still regularly Open All Hours and Tosh Lines is still nicking bad guys in The Bill.

Better check Twitter.