John Sessions was an original comic talent – Scotsman comment

John Sessions, who has died from a heart attack at the age of 67, will be long remembered by those of a certain age for his wonderfully funny performances on the TV version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?

John Sessions, pictured in 2013, has died at the age of  67 (Picture: Ian West/PA Wire)
John Sessions, pictured in 2013, has died at the age of 67 (Picture: Ian West/PA Wire)

In the late 1980s and 1990s, its improvised nature seemed groundbreaking; while there had been improv shows on stage and screen before, this was truly funny and, in the eyes of many at the time, the funniest show on television.

Suddenly improvisation was no longer a slightly cringe-worthy pursuit for overly enthusiastic drama students, it was the height of comedy.

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And the shining talent of the Largs-born Sessions was one of the reasons why.

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Scottish actor and comedian John Sessions dies aged 67

It made him – along with host Clive Anderson, and other performers like Josie Lawrence, Greg Proops and Tony Slattery – a household name. Perhaps less well known was that he was also the voice of several Spitting Image characters.

Later audiences knew him as an occasional guest on the BBC’s cerebral comedy quiz show QI. Indeed, he was a panelist on its first-ever episode. “His incredible wit and encyclopedic knowledge played a huge part in the show’s history and everyone at QI is deeply saddened to learn of his passing,” tweeted the team behind the programme.

Among the tributes, many of which noted his kindness towards and willingness to help fellow performers, actress and comedian Helen Lederer perhaps summed him up best: “Such an original force of clever wit and talent – the best smile – a port in a storm to all.”

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