The TV presenter Keith Chegwin has passed away at the age of 60.
Chegwin had been away from the spotlight for some time, after becoming ill with a progressive lung condition that ultimately took his life.
But his legacy will live on. In his younger years, Chegwin, or Cheggars as he was affectionately known, made his name on the hit children’s game show Cheggars Plays Pop.
Later in his career, he emerged as one of the standout stars of the Big Breakfast on Channel 4 thanks to his Down Your Doorstep segment and the now-familiar cry of “Wake up you beggars, it’s Cheggars!”
Here he is giving the doorstep treatment to a visibly hungover Steve Coogan after the 1993 Baftas:
What separated Chegwin from your everyday TV host was that he was never afraid to take risks and poke fun at himself. This could occasionally result in misfires, like his infamous stint as the host of the nudist game show Naked Jungle, where he appeared wearing nothing except a hat.
Yet there were more hits than misses, from his habit of writing inspired and amusing jingles for the Chris Moyles Breakfast Show on Radio 1 to his very own comedy horror film, Kill Keith. The undoubted highlight came with Chegwin’s appearance alongside Ricky Gervais on Extras.
Gervais had a habit of recruiting big name actors from the UK and US to send themselves up on the hit sitcom about life in the film and television industry and Cheggars did not disappoint during his appearance in the opening episode of the second series.
Playing an exaggerated version of himself, Chegwin turned up to guest star on Andy Millman’s (Gervais) laugh-free sitcom When The Whistle Blows, and was the highlight of an episode well worth revisiting on Netflix.
But it’s Chegwin’s antics alongside Gervais in one particular scene that proved the most memorable – even if it never made it into the finished episode. As the outtakes reel from the episode shows below, Gervais and Chegwin had some trouble keeping a straight face during one particular exchange between the pair – and it’s not difficult to see why.
A funny, warm bit of rarely seen comedy gold, it summed up so much about what made Chegwin such a TV treasure. He was never afraid to take risks and to laugh at himself while you also got the sense that he loved what he did and that the people who worked with him felt the same.
Chegwin was a smart performer too, capable of creating genuine magic on the screen, whether it was hounding Coogan after a rough night, on the Big Breakfast, or attempting to describe heterosexual sex to Gervais using only his hands.
He could do deadpan, he could do light entertainment, heck, he could do pretty much anything he turned his hand to and he’s one of only a few people to leave Gervais in hysterics.
The world is now a poorer place without Keith Chegwin. We can only thank you for providing so many laughs and memorable moments down the years. You will never be forgotten.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.