Entertainment

Sandi Toksvig remembers ‘lovely' and ‘professional' William G Stewart

Fifteen To One presenters pay tribute to their predecessor, who has died following a brief illness.

TV’s Sandi Toksvig has praised the “lovely” and “consummate professional” presenter, William G Stewart, who has died aged 84.

The former Fifteen To One host became a household name as he fronted the Channel 4 general knowledge quiz programme from 1988 until 2003.

Toksvig – currently best known for her role on The Great British Bake Off – stepped into Stewart’s shoes when the show returned for a revamped series in 2014.

Following the news of his death on Thursday, she tweeted: “Sad news about William Gladstone Stewart.

“A lovely man, a consummate TV professional and of course, host of 15 to 1 long before I stepped up.”

Comedian Adam Hills, who has hosted the Celebrity Fifteen To One series since its inception in 2013 also wished his predecessor a fond “farewell”.

In a light-hearted Twitter tribute, he wrote: “Farewell to William G Stewart. Even if I had three feet, I’d never have filled his shoes.”

As well as his work in front of the camera, Stewart was also known for being the producer and director on game shows The Price Is Right and Family Fortunes, and sitcom Bless This House, among others.

Fellow TV personality and former Quizmania presenter Greg Scott described him as a creator of “huge standing and talent”.

His post read: “Just heard of the passing of William G Stewart. So much more than merely a quiz host. A producer & director of huge standing and talent.”

In a short statement shared hours after his death, Stewart’s representative said that he died “peacefully this morning surrounded by his family after a brief illness”.

Recalling his time on the show – dubbed one of TV’s toughest quiz programmes – in 2014, Stewart told how the idea had originally come from a BT salesman.

After receiving a letter from the creator, John M Lewis, in 1986, he wrote in the Daily Mail: “It was a good idea, and knowing that it had already been rejected by nine other producers and sensing that John would probably be very keen to make any sort of positive progress, I made him an offer.

William G Stewart death
William G Stewart and his wife Laura (Peter Jordan/PA)

“I’d pay him £200 if he gave me a 12-month option to develop the idea.

“Well, that £200 was the best money I’ve ever spent in my life.”

His 15 years on the programme saw him make 2,265 episodes, meet almost 34,000 contestants and present at least 350,000 questions.

In 1997 Stewart married his third wife Laura Calland, a voice-over artist for Fifteen To One.

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