Tony Blackburn remembers Keith Chegwin: We were like brothers
Tony Blackburn has led tributes to TV presenter Keith Chegwin following his death aged 60 after a long illness.
The broadcaster, who first worked with Chegwin when he was at BBC Radio 1, said the news had come as a huge shock.
He told the Press Association: “We always got on very well, he was the nicest person I’ve ever met, there wasn’t a mean bone in his body.
“He was as you saw him on TV, that was him off screen as well and we just got on like a house on fire.
“We both had a rather childish sense of humour and we both had an enormous amount of energy, we used to work together on ITV and travel a lot together and when we were away we used to stay up all hours of the night chatting and having a laugh, we were like a couple of brothers.”
Blackburn said he last spoke to Chegwin about four weeks ago on the phone.
He said: “I phoned him up and he said he had been very very unwell and was still not quite right but he said ‘I’m getting better’.
“He said ‘I will phone you when I’m better’. I presumed he was recovering but he obviously wasn’t.
“He was so young, only 60. He used to smoke very heavily but I think he gave it up.”
He continued: “We got on like a house on fire. Every time we met I just enjoyed his company, we were just collapsing laughing all the time, it was always fun and I think both of us were exhausting to be with for the camera crews.
“We used to wear everybody out, but he was a lovely man and very family orientated, he kept himself to himself a lot and we used to talk about his wife and his family.
“Every Christmas he used to send me a stupid Christmas card with a message on it and I would do the same with him and I was just going to get it together today and then I got the news.
“I was just trying to think of something stupid to put in the Christmas card, it’s very sad, I couldn’t believe it.
“He was very honest and that was his charm, he was a very talented guy, I think that is why everybody is saying so many nice things about him, when you worked with him you always knew you were going to have a good time.
“He was very talented, children loved him because he was a big child himself really, he was very natural with people, at one point he was on TV practically the whole time but it never went to his head.
“He was a natural on TV and what you saw was him. People like Ant and Dec are just the same off the screen as they are on and Keith was just the same. He didn’t put it on, that was him, he was a naturally talented person.”