IRISH comedian Sean Hughes sadly died today aged just 51 – but he will be remembered for everything from his hilarious Never Mind the Buzzcocks appearances to bringing us the unforgettable Finbar the Mighty Shark.
Hughes, who was born in London but grew up in Ireland, was also an accomplished writer, film director and voice artist in his 25 years as a mainstay of British and Irish comedy.
Here are some of the greatest moments from Sean Hughes’ quarter of a century on our screens…
Arguably Hughes’ most iconic TV success was his first – the Channel 4 situational comedy Sean’s Show. The manic series was a play on your typical sitcom and even featured a spider who was actually Elvis Presley – for some reason. The first series ended with the entire cast (except Sean) killed off – so when he was granted a second series, he was forced to resurrect them all in the first episode.
In 1993, Hughes moved to the BBC to make Sean’s Shorts – a series of small films in which he toured England speaking to people. Less chaotic than Sean’s Show, the series saw him visit local places of interest and meet local people – but in typical Sean Hughes fashion, things were firmly off-the-wall. Watch this delightfully strange clip with fellow comic Bob Mortimer below.
Never Mind the Buzzcocks
Staying at the BBC, Hughes served as a regular team captain on cult musical panel show Never Mind the Buzzcocks from 1996 to 2002. Hughes’ laidback shtick was the perfect counterweight to Mark Lamarr’s grumpiness and Phill Jupitus’s quick-wittedness – and featured during what were arguably the show’s best years before it finally stopped airing in 2015.
Hughes found an unlikely cult following as Finbar the Mighty Shark in the CBeebies children’s show Rubbadubbers between 2003 and 2006. The comic’s ambivalent voice stood out in a sea of over-excited characters in his role as the blue-skinned Irish shark, famed for describing himself in the third person as “The Mighty Shark” – along with the pirate-like catchphrase, “Arr, Arr, Arr!” The theme tune was grand as well.