Ronald Balfour "Ronnie" Corbett, CBE, was a Scottish actor and comedian who had a long association with Ronnie Barker in the television comedy series The Two Ronnies. He achieved prominence in Sir David Frost's 1960s satirical comedy programme The Frost Report and later starred in the sitcoms Sorry! and No – That's Me Over Here!.

Early life and career Edit

Ronnie Corbett was born in Edinburgh in 1930, the son of London-born Annie Elizabeth (Main) and William Balfour Corbett, master baker. He has a brother about six years younger, and a sister about ten years younger than himself. Corbett was educated at the Royal High School in the city, but did not attend university. After leaving school, he decided he wanted to be an actor while performing in amateur theatricals at a church youth club. However, his first job was with the Ministry of Agriculture.

He then did national service with the Royal Air Force, during which he was the shortest (in height) commissioned officer in the British Forces. A former Aircraftman 2nd class, he was commissioned into the secretarial branch of the RAF as a pilot officer (national service) on 25 May 1950. He was given the service number 2446942. He transferred to the reserve (national service list) on 28 October 1951, thereby ending his period of active service. He was promoted to flying officer on 6 September 1952.

Rise to Fame Edit

It was in The Frost Report (1966–67) that Corbett first worked with Ronnie Barker. The writers and cast were mostly Oxbridge graduates from the Footlights tradition. Corbett said he and Barker were drawn together as twogrammar school boys who had not gone to university. The show was a mixture of satirical monologues, sketches and music. Corbett and Barker were beginning to be thought of as a pair. They appeared with John Cleese in one of the most repeated comedy sketches in British television, the Class sketch, in which Corbett got the pay-off line: "I get a pain in the back of my neck."

Continuing under Frost, Corbett starred in No – That's Me Over Here!, a sitcom written by Frost Report writers Barry Cryer, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle (ITV 1967–70). Cryer and Chapman wrote two follow-ups: Now Look Here (BBC 1971–73) and The Prince of Denmark (BBC 1974). Corbett also appeared in Frost on Sunday (ITV 1968) and hosted The Corbett Follies (ITV 1969).

The Two Ronnies Edit

The Two Ronnies

On left, with partner Ronnie Barker in their regular news anchor spoof.

His BBC television comedy show with Ronnie BarkerThe Two Ronnies, lasted from 1971 to 1987, an was considered a "national institution." Barker and Corbett performed sketches and musical numbers.

Corbett presented a monologue sitting in a large easy chair (emphasising his small size), and usually wearing a Lyle & Scott golfing V-neck sweater, he would tell a simple joke over several minutes, often allowing himself to appear to lose his train of thought.

Personal Life Edit

Corbett married actress and dancer Anne Hart in 1965; they have two daughters, actresses Emma and Sophie Corbett. Their first child, Andrew, had a heart defect and died, six weeks old, at St Thomas' Hospital. He lived in Shirley, Croydon, for many years. He also had a home in Gullane, East Lothian, in Scotland. He was a beekeeper and kept hives at his second home in East Lothian.

Corbett was a golfer and appeared in celebrity and pro–am events; in 2009 he made a documentary with Colin Montgomerie in which they played at Gleneagles. A keen cricket fan, Corbett was also a past president of the cricketing charity the Lord's Taverners (1982 and 1987). He also supported his local football club, Crystal Palace, as well as his hometown club, Heart of Midlothian.

Filmography Edit


Year Title Role
1952 You're Only Young Twice (film) Student
1953 Rheingold Theatre Young Hooligan
1955 The Vise
1957 Sheep's Clothing Valet
1963 The Saint Call Boy
1966-1967 The Frost Report Various Roles
1967-1970 No – That's Me Over Here! Ronnie
1969 Hark at Barker
1970 Jackanory Storyteller
1971-1973 Now Look Here Ronnie
1974 The Prince of Denmark Ronnie
1971-1987 The Two Ronnies Himself & Various characters
1981-1988 Sorry! Timothy Lumsden
1994-1996 Small Talk Host
1998 Timbuctoo Narrator &

All Characters Except Giant Squeak

1998 The Ben Elton Show Himself
2000 Cinderella ITV Panto Griselda (One of the Ugly Sisters)
2004 The Keith Barret Show Himself With His Wife
2004 Monkey Trousers Various roles
2005 The Two Ronnies Sketchbook
2006 Extras Himself
2006 Little Britain Abroad Himself
2008 Love Soup Gordon Baxter
2009 Sarah Jane Adventures (Comic Relief) Ambassador "Rani" Ranius/Slitheen
2009 Strictly Come Dancing Host
2010 Ant and Dec's Push The Button Voiceover
2010 The One Ronnie Himself
2011 Ronnie Corbett's Comedy Britain Himself
2013 Ronnie's Animal Crackers Himself


Year Title Role
1956 Fun at St. Fanny's Chumleigh
1957 Rockets Galore! Drooby
1962 Operation Snatch Soldier (uncredited)
1967 Casino Royale Polo
1970 Some Will, Some Won't Herbert Russell
1970 The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer Interviewer
1973 No Sex Please, We're British Brian Runnicles
1997 Fierce Creatures Reggie Sea Lions
2010 Burke and Hare Captain Tam McLintoch

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