Film critic Barry Norman dies at the age of 83

Barry Norman, pictured right with the late Sir Richard Attenborough and a Darth Vader model, has died at the age of 83.
Barry Norman, pictured right with the late Sir Richard Attenborough and a Darth Vader model, has died at the age of 83.

Film critic Barry Norman has died at the age of 83, his family have said.

The journalist and former BBC presenter died in his sleep on Friday night.

Northeast Press, publishers of the Sunderland Echo, Hartlepool Mail and Shields Gazette, was fortunate to have Norman as guest speaker at its Portfolio business awards evening in 2010.

Northeast Press, publishers of the Sunderland Echo, Hartlepool Mail and Shields Gazette, was fortunate to have Norman as guest speaker at its Portfolio business awards evening in 2010.

A statement from his daughters, Samantha and Emma, described him as "remarkable" and added: "He had a great life, a wonderful marriage and an enviable career."

Norman hosted BBC One's show Film..., which kept adding the current year to the end of its title, between 1972 and 1998, its longest running host, and wrote for the Daily Mail and the Guardian newspapers.

His literary agent Curtis Brown said he was "the defining voice of film criticism and insightful interviewing of screen legends from both sides of the camera".

His wife Diana Norman, who wrote a series of best-selling historical thrillers under the name Ariana Franklin, died in 2011 aged 77.

The couple met while working as journalists and married in 1957.

Norman said at the time: "I was working as a gossip writer on the Daily Sketch for my sins, which was the only job I could get, and she was working as a very highly respected writer on the

Daily Herald, as it was then.

"We met in Fleet Street and married."

Norman, formerly a Radio 4 presenter on the Today programme, quit the BBC in 1998 after 26 years to work for Sky.

He left TV in 2001 and has been awarded a CBE for services to broadcasting.