Frank Skinner has paid tribute to comedian Gareth Richards as he introduced a special edition of a podcast featuring the best bits of the radio show they co-hosted.
Richards’ death was announced yesterday almost two weeks after he suffered brain injuries in a motorway crash.
Describing Richards as a “former colleague and dear friend”, Skinner said: “There’s been lots of beautiful messages about Gareth and his family have been very kind to us and kept us informed about the details of his struggle but look, Gareth didn’t make it.
“Gareth didn’t make it and we will miss him intensely.
“He was a very kind, gentle, funny, fascinating man and I can’t believe that he…
“Today’s show features Gareth’s best bits but you are allowed to cry but you have to laugh as well, I think he would have insisted on that.”
Skinner and Richards worked together during the early days of the Saturday morning show on Absolute Radio.
In a post on social media paying tribute, Richards’ wife said: “He was in a terrible car accident on Monday 27 March at 11.30pm and sustained serious brain injuries.
“It was a miracle that he arrived at the hospital alive.
“Since then, the doctors and nurses have been incredible and have kept him in a stable and sedated condition.
“However, the latest scan revealed that the extent of the damage was so severe that they would have to remove all of the supportive medications and allow him to be at peace.”
‘We will miss him greatly’
The comedian had his first ever gig in October 2004, aboard the Wibbly Wobbly Boat, a venue compered by alternative comedy veteran Malcolm Hardy.
His success led to him becoming a finalist in the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year 2007 competition, and a runner-up in the Amused Moose Laugh-Off 2007.
In 2010 the comedian went on to lead his first solo stand-up on “Stand Up Between Songs” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Richards was also nominated for Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer.
During his career, Richards also appeared on Russell Howard’s Good News, Live at the Electric on BBC Three and children’s TV panel show The Dog Ate My Homework on CBBC.
He later joined Skinner’s award-winning radio show for two years.
Tributes poured in from heartbroken fans, friends and family, following the announcement of his death.
On Saturday The Frank Skinner Show tweeted: “We are heartbroken about the loss of our dear friend, Gareth. We will miss him greatly.”
Emily Dean, a co-host of Skinner’s podcast, said: “God I will miss you Gareth Richards – my hilarious, unfailingly kind, gentle, beautiful friend. So grateful to have known you.”
Skinner struggled for words as he told listeners how Richards was fighting for his life after a “very big road accident” last weekend.
‘I’m absolutely gutted’
Fellow comic Joe Lycett posted: “When I did my first hour at the Edinburgh Festival, I shared my venue with Gareth Richards.
“He was on after me and was normally the first person I saw when I came off stage. He wasn’t having the best time of it that year but he was always generous and comforting despite presumably trying to focus on his own imminent show.
“We giggled together on and off over the last decade and reconnected more actively in the last couple of years, and I felt like he was getting to a happy and more honest place with who he was.
“He’d been very brave. I’m absolutely gutted about his death and am so sad for his family.
“His last WhatsApp message to me contains amongst other things, the words ‘love you’. I didn’t say it back then and I should have: love you too, G. X”