Keith Chegwin dead: TV presenter dies aged 60 after 'battle with lung condition'

Mike P Williams

TV presenter Keith Chegwin has died aged 60 following a “long-term battle with a progressive lung condition”, his family has said.

The star had been ill for a long time, his family said. (Credit: PA)

The Liverpool-born presenter started out as an actor, with minor appearances in a variety of programmes, such as Open All  Hours, The Liver Birds, and Z Cars.

His biggest acting role to date was in Roman Polanski’s 1971 version of Macbeth, playing the character of Fleance, before moving into television.

The late Keith Chegwin and former wife Maggie Philbin (Credit: PA)

During the 1970s, ’80s’ and ’90s he became known for his TV work, with his big break coming in the shape of Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and Cheggers Plays Pop.

Over the years, Chegwin presented Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast and the revamped game show It’s A Knockout for Channel 5.

Cheggers wasn’t one to be constrained by scripts and boundaries, often ad-libbing live on air and, in 2000, presented a one-off show called Naked Jungle – whereby nudists competed over an assault course formatted programme to celebrate the 50th birthday of British naturism.

Chegwin was a big hit when he brought It’s A Knockout back. (Credit: PA)

Later, he returned to acting by appearing in Ricky Gervais’ Extras, the 2011 movie Kill Keith (where he played himself), and again teamed up with him and Stephen Merchant in comedy series Life’s Too Short.

In 2015, Chegwin appeared in Celebrity Big Brother, finishing in fourth spot, and that same year he competed in Celebrity MasterChef.

Former colleagues and stars have paid tribute to veteran presenter, from the worlds of sport, business and entertainment.

Keith Chegwin (right) and his twin brother Jeff celebrating their 21st birthday in Twickenham, London. (Credit: PA)

Former heavyweight boxing champ Frank Bruno said he was “saddened by the news.

Chegwin playing Drosselmyer, the toy maker with magical powers, in the Imperial Ice Stars: The Nutcracker on Ice performance at the London Palladium. (Credit: PA)

Comedian Paddy McGuinness tweeted in memory of Chegwin, who was “very much a part of my childhood.”

Meanwhile, entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne said the entertainer was “too young to go”, calling the news “so sad”.

Sadly, his final tweet was in direct reference to his health, apologising for not being well…

Ex-wife Maggie Philbin’s statement was full of humour, to match his: ‘He was still attempting to be life and soul of the party despite being on portable oxygen and made sure he knew how much he meant to us all.

It is incredibly sad. Keith was a one-off – full of life, generous and with a focus on things that mattered – his family.’

She recalled the first time they met on Swap Shop:

‘I first met him when we did a film about windsurfing when I joined Swap Shop in 1978 and was immediately struck by his fun, energy and kindness.’

He drove me home to Leicestershire from that freezing lake in Staines, insisting it was on his own way home. (He lived in Twickenham).

He leaves us all with very special memories.’

Chegwin is survived by his second wife, Maria, who he’d been married to since 2000. He also leaves behind son Ted and daughter Rose.

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