Bob Holness dies aged 83

The legendary 'Blockbusters' host passed away in his sleep

Bob Holness has died at the age of 83.

The Blockbusters presenter had been living in a nursing home, following a long period of ill health after a series of strokes.

Holness will be remembered by generations as host of the cult general knowledge quiz, which saw contestants try to cross a hexagonal board by answering questions based on initials, coining the legendary catchphrase, “can I have a P please Bob?”

Talking about the famous double entendre, Holness once commented: “People say ‘Don’t you ever get fed up with it?’ but I didn’t. I loved everything to do with the show so it always got a very positive reception from me, however many times I heard it.”

According to the BBC, a statement from his family said that Holness died “peacefully in his sleep”. It added that he “was an accomplished theatre actor and his radio broadcasting career spanned over six decades.”

Born in South Africa, Holness joined the BBC in the 1960s and hosted Late Night Extra on Radio 1 and Radio 2, alongside presenters including Terry Wogan. The show continued on the AM frequency until 1975, when Holness moved to commercial station LBC, where he co-hosted the morning show.

Earlier on in his career, he became the second actor to portray James Bond in a radio adaptation of Moonraker in 1956. He said in 2008 that the role “just came up through the floor,” adding “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.”

Holness was the subject of a long running urban myth, which suggested he had played saxophone on Gerry Rafferty‘s 1978 hit song ‘Baker Street’. He often went along with this story, even though the solo was actually recorded by a session musician called Raphael Ravenscroft.

Holness is survived by his wife Mary, three children and seven grandchildren.