AN uncomfortable week for the Labour leader Ed Miliband ended in an embarrassing blunder with his online tribute to Bob Holness, the genial host of the iconic TV quiz Blockbusters, who died yesterday aged 83.
Following a statement from his family which confirmed the beloved presenter had “passed away peacefully in his sleep” Mr Miliband joined those using social networking sites to pay tribute.
But his Twitter feed read: “Sad to hear that Bob Holness has died. A generation will remember him fondly from Blackbusters.”
The keyboard blunder came a day after he gave his shadow minister Diane Abbott “a severe dressing down” following a race row she sparked on the micro-blogging site.
His message was quickly replaced, but not before the original was retweeted, with the Liberal Democrats press spokesman writing: “We can confirm that we have not hacked Ed Miliband’s Twitter account. That’s all him.”
Others to pay their respects included broadcaster Stuart Maconie, said to be responsible for starting an urban myth that Holness played the saxophone solo on the Gerry Rafferty hit Baker Street. “Genuinely sad about Bob H,” he tweeted.
The TV host, who had been in a nursing home, leaves a widow, Mary, three children and seven grandchildren.
Holness was born in South Africa, but grew up in Kent. He returned to South Africa to begin a career as an actor. But it was as chairman of BBC1’s Call My Bluff and host of Blockbusters that he became a household name.
The quiz, which ended in 1993, featured student contestants answering trivia questions based on the letters of the alphabet. The show regularly saw Holness trying to keep a straight face while sniggering students asked: “Can I have a P please Bob?”