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The Goodies

More coverage of the Mitchell family story
22/06/2012 15:29 GMT

Posted by lisa

The story has now been picked up by BBC News and Scotland's Daily Record:

From the BBC News:

22 June 2012 Last updated at 04:21 ET

Goodies' fan Alex Mitchell 1975 laughter death 'solved'

The mystery of the man who was reported to have died laughing watching the comedy show The Goodies in the 1970s may have been solved by doctors.

Alex Mitchell, of King's Lynn, Norfolk, suffered heart failure after viewing the Ecky-Thump episode in 1975.

His granddaughter Lisa Corke, 23, had a near fatal cardiac arrest at home on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, in May.

She has now been diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome which doctors think could have also caused Mr Mitchell's death.

Mr Mitchell's death after laughing for half an hour watching The Goodies made headlines around the world in 1975.

'Breathing funny'

Later his wife, Nessie, wrote to the show's stars Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie to thank them for making his final 30 minutes so enjoyable.

Mr Mitchell's son Alex, who was 17 at the time, said: "They just thought it was a heart attack.

"After what happened to Lisa I spoke to my sister, who was with my dad at the time, and my mum... and they said it was as though my dad fainted and started breathing funny.

"Listening to how Mick [Lisa's husband] described what happened to Lisa it was almost identical symptoms.

"That's when the doctors put two and two together and came up with the idea that actually they think it's hereditary."

Consultant cardiologist Dr Pier Lambiase said: "You may find other members of the family that have unexplained deaths and it was put down to a heart attack at the time, but it was actually due to this condition.

"I would say given the fact that his granddaughter, I believe, had Long QT Syndrome and the circumstances of the death it would be good circumstantial evidence.

"To be absolutely certain you would have to see if there was an abnormality in the gene that causes Long QT Syndrome found in the granddaughter [that] is also evident in other members of the family, particularly the individual who passed away."

Mrs Corke was put into a medically induced coma after she suffered the cardiac arrest in May.

She said: "They [doctors] know what it is, they know that it is genetic so hopefully they'll be to find if the children have it, if my brother has it and if my father as well.

"And hopefully protect future generations in our family."

A person with Long QT Syndrome suddenly faints or passes out during exercise, or when experiencing intense emotions, such as fear.

Symptoms typically begin in young children, but may occur in newborns and can appear as late as middle age.

From the Daily Record (where it is filed under "Weird News":

Revealed: Scottish grandad really did die laughing at The Goodies TV show

Jun 22 2012 By James Moncur

A LONG running tale that has passed into comedy legend has been solved – a Scot did die laughing at the Goodies.

Alex Mitchell collapsed in 1975 while watching the popular BBC comedy show.

The 50-year-old, from Edinburgh, laughed so hard at the “Kung Fu Capers” sketch involving actor Tim Brooke Taylor dressed as a Scotsman, that his heart gave out.

Now doctors have finally established he really did die laughing.

Cardiologists believe the bricklayer, who lived in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, suffered from a rare heart disorder called long QT syndrome.

The conditon can trigger cardiac arrest after exertion or an adrenaline surge.

They came to the conclusion after his granddaughter, Lisa Corke, was diagnosed with the syndrome.

Lisa, 23, suffered a cardiac arrest at her home last month and was saved by her husband Michael, who administered life-saving CPR before the ambulance arrived.

Doctors discovered that her long QT syndrome was hereditary on her father’s side.

The mum-of-two, from Sheerness, in Kent, said: “My granddad died one of the most famous strange deaths.

“His death has been talked about for years and made all the papers at the time. I never knew him but it’s strange to think we both had this condition.”

Alex’s death made headlines around the world after he settled down to watch The Goodies on March 24, 1975.

The Kung Fu Capers episode featured Bill Oddie as a blackbelt in the little-known Lancastrian martial art of Ecky Thump.

Tim Brooke-Taylor played a Scotsman who defended himself with a set of bagpipes.

According to his wife, he was in stitches throughout the episode then “gave a tremendous laugh, slumped on the sofa and died”.

She later sent a letter to the Goodies thanking them for making Alex’s final moments so happy.

Dr Iqbal Malik, a consultant cardiologist at London’s Hammersmith Hospital, said watching the Goodies was likely to have been the “trigger” for Alex’s death.

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