Column: Smiling down on us

He is a well-known celebrity to add to the increasingly long list of characters who have lost their lives this year – 2016 has certainly taken more than its fair share of household names away from us.

But I think that the late David Gest, who passed away on Thursday, deserves some sort of accolade for retaining, in death and albeit advertently, the sense of humour that kept him in the spotlight for much of his life.

A colourful character known on both sides of the Atlantic, he started as a producer in the entertainmentbusiness and was a friend of Micheal Jackson – once even dated his sister LaToya Jackson – and later became well know for his short-lived marriage to Liza Minnelli, as well as the plastic surgery he bitterly regretted.

Earlier this year British audiences got to know him on Big Brother, where he was taken ill and given a room to rest .

When one of his housemates mistakenly thought he was dead, the phrase ‘David is dead,’ became infamous – inspiring his planned new tour – the somewhat unfortunately named ‘David Gest: Not dead but alive with soul’ tour.

The promotional posters, still scattered around towns and cities including Preston, show David looming out of a coffin somewhat prophetically.

Personally, I’m pretty sure he would have found all of this quite funny,  including statements saying, confusingly, it was hoped the upcoming shows will still go ahead.

So the ‘David Gest is not dead, except he is, except he might not be after all.. who knows’ tour may be more appropriate.

In fact, he produced the all-star show, so it could still go ahead without him and in his name.

And I hope it does – this is a man who never strayed far from fame and I’m sure is looking down with a glint in his eye and a calculated eye on which of his celebrated friends are paying an effusive enough tribute.

So RIP David, you were larger than life but loom even larger in death.

And Big Brother is still watching you.