15 Apr: Tommy Cooper Dies On Stage

Tommy Cooper’s unexpected death on stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre on 15th April, 1984 remains one of the saddest and most surreal moments in UK comedy history. 

Known for his slapstick humour and botched magic tricks, family favourite Cooper collapsed mid-act due to a massive heart attack. 

The audience, initially assuming it was part of his act, roared with laughter as he lay on the stage emitting what sounded like snoring. Despite the frantic efforts of production staff and paramedics backstage, Cooper was pronounced dead on arrival at Westminster Hospital. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how Cooper’s health concerns had been widely known within the industry before this incident; reveal how a live TV audience of millions got to grips with the news that the comedy icon had died; and take a look back at some of the other star performers who have, quite literally, died on stage… 

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