'Blockbusters' host Holness dies aged 83


Broadcaster Bob Holness died today aged 83, his family said.

Holness, best known as the host of the ITV quiz Blockbusters, had a career spanning almost 60 years.

A statement released by his family said he “died peacefully in his sleep early this morning”.

Holness, who suffered a number of strokes and has been in a nursing home, leaves his wife Mary, three children and seven grandchildren.

Holness was born in Natal, South Africa, but grew up in Kent after his family moved back to England.

He returned to South Africa as a young man to begin a career as an actor and broadcaster that saw him star in radio plays, including one where he played an early version of superspy James Bond.

In a 2008 interview, he told the BBC: “Well, that just came up through a hole in the floor. I was doing lots of radio plays at the time but I wanted to do something a bit different so when James Bond came up I ventured in and said yes. I had never even heard of him at the time but it became an amazing part to play and the response from listeners was terrific.”

He returned to England in 1961 and became a familiar face on television, but it was roles as chairman of BBC 1’s Call My Bluff and host of Blockbusters that made him a household name.

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