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Cooper dubbed funniest Briton

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Tommy Cooper, with his fez, buffoonery and 'just like that's, entertained UK audiences for decades until his fatal heart attack on live TV in 1984. Twenty years on the public, in the form of a Reader's Digest poll, have voted him the funniest Briton.

The twenty-strong list saw relative newcomer Peter Kay come in second place for his hilarious stand-up performances and his critically-acclaimed show Phoenix Nights. In third, fourth and fifth places were comedy stalwarts Billy Connolly, Morecambe and Wise and the late Bob Monkhouse.

The success of Cooper is perhaps remarkable, since there were many younger voters. A magazine spokesperson commented "Comedy fashions come and go but as far as the British public is concerned you obviously can't beat Tommy Cooper's classic one-liners."

Also in the rankings were John Cleese, Eddie Izzard and Lenny Henry. Lenny's wife, Dawn French, was the only woman to chart, appearing at joint 11th with Only Fools And Horses' David Jason.

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