Barry Cryer awarded honorary degree
Barry - who has written material for household names including Morecambe and Wise, Ronnie Barker, Bruce Forsyth and Billy Connelly - has contributed to the UK's entertainment industry for more than 50 years.
Born in Leeds, he was educated at Leeds Grammar School and went on to study English at the University of Leeds. After his first year of study he left to pursue his career in comedy and was offered a week's work at the famous Leeds City Varieties Music Hall on the BBC's Good Old Days, the longest-running television light entertainment show in the world. While appearing there, he was spotted by a London agent and offered work in variety.
Speaking about receiving the award, Barry said: "I've had a marvellous career people-wise and I've been dogged by good luck all my life. I'm grateful to be here. Coming back to Leeds is like a warm bath and today is a wonderful day. It means a hell of a lot to me to get an honorary degree. What's next for me now are gigs, jobs and live shows and I'll be in the Isle of Wight tomorrow for a live show."
Barry later successfully auditioned for the Windmill Theatre in London, a legendary school for comedians, and started work there just an-hour-and-a-half later.
After seven months of six shows a day, six days a week, he left the theatre to appear in Expresso Bongo, a musical savaging the pop music scene of the day. It was during this period that Barry started making records and had a Number One hit in Finland with the song 'Purple People Eater'.
Later in his career, while working with Danny La Rue, he met David Frost who invited him to join the writing roster on the BBC programme, the Frost Report. Barry later moved with Frost to ITV and wrote and appeared in the show before returning to the BBC as one of the original Two Ronnies writers. He also wrote for the BAFTA winning Kenny Everett shows for ITV and BBC, along with Ray Cameron.
In addition to writing for some of Britain's best comedians, Barry also wrote shows for singers including Petula Clark and superstar Tom Jones and is the author of The Little Book of Mornington Crescent and his own autobiography Pigs Can Fly.
He is currently starring as a team captain on Jo Brand's Great Wall of Comedy television quiz show and has been a regular panellist on programme's including Radio 4's Just a Minute and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.
Others receiving honorary degrees from Leeds Metropolitan include Leeds businessman and charity activist, Edward Ziff; Emmerdale actress Gaynor Faye and Olympic triathlon coach, Malcolm Brown MBE.
Leeds Metropolitan University Vice Chancellor, Professor Susan Price, said: "We are delighted to recognise such a wide variety of individuals who have made a significant contribution to their field. This year's awards are particularly varied, with inspiring people from a range of backgrounds including business, arts, law, sport and the entertainment industry. We are very much looking forward to welcoming them to our Headingley Campus to celebrate with us as we recognise the achievements of our staff and graduating students."