Rory Bremner mourns comic partner John Bird

British funnyman Rory Bremner has paid tribute to his longtime colleague John Bird following the death of the legendary British satirist.

Bird, a prominent name in U.K. comedy since the 1960s 'satire boom', passed away "peacefully" aged 86 on Christmas Eve.

Bremner, 61, starred with him alongside late comedian John Fortune in the comedy series Bremner, Bird and Fortune for more than a decade from 1999, having previously collaborated on Bremner's solo projects.

Paying tribute to his colleague, the star wrote on Twitter: "Deeply saddened to hear that the great John Bird has left us. One of the most modest of men and most brilliant of satirists. And one of the last surviving pillars of the anti-establishment.

"If you do one thing today, watch one of his interview sketches with John Fortune and ask yourself if it's ever been more beautifully done. RIP (Bird's character) George Parr.

"I used to watch from the wings and marvel at how the two friends made it look so effortless, so blissfully funny, their skill and enjoyment in the moment making light of the seriously detailed research that went into each piece."

Bird met his long-term comedy partner Fortune while studying at Cambridge University in the late 1950s, and became well known during the TV satire boom of the 1960s, appearing in That Was The Week That Was, the title of which he coined.

Regular roles in British TV drama and comedy followed, as well as work in the theatre, but it was with Bremner and Fortune he became known to a new generation of fans.

Particularly popular were his and Fortune's The Long Johns sketches, in which one would play an inept or amoral politician or official, always named George Parr, and the other an increasingly exasperated interviewer. The skits would accompany Bremner's satirical impressions of political figures and they gained popularity for their scathing treatment of issues like the Iraq War.

Bird is survived by his wife, Libby, a concert pianist, along with his stepsons Dan and Josh.