Top comedy writer who penned jokes for James Corden, Steve Coogan and Jack Dee gassed himself in car next to his favourite fishing lake after battle with depression — (Daily Mail)

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Daily Mail Online

By James Dunn For Mailonline

Published: 15:50 GMT, 4 November 2015

A renowned comedy writer who penned jokes for comedians including Jack Dee, James Corden and Sarah Millican gassed himself in his car following a long battle with depression.

Bafta award-winning writer Jim Pullin, who wrote for shows including Have I got News For You and Eight Out Of 10 Cats and was executive producer of Corden’s sports panel show A League of Their Own, was found dead near a fishing lake this year.

The father of three, who started his career with Not The Nine O’Clock News in the 80s, had a long history of depression and was on anti-depressants at the time, his GP told the inquest.

Mr Pullin, a keen fisherman, had a history of depression and was found dead in his car near his favourite fishing spot, an inquest heard.

Mr Pullin had an argument with his wife then drove out to a favourite fishing spot and gassed himself in his black Audi by the edge of the lake.

The writer and producer, whose real name was Julian, was well-known across the industry after working with comedians including Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in a career spanning more than three decades.

The writer and producer, pictured, whose real name was Julian, was well-known across the industry

He won a Bafta for sports panel comedy show A League Of Their Own last year, which starred James Corden, last year.

His disappearance came to light the day after he walked out of the family home after an argument with his wife, Suzanne, and he didn’t turn up for a meeting at Elstree Studios.

Police officers were led to the lake complex by Mrs Pullin where Mr Pullin used to fish, by his wife, with his body then being found in his car.

Mr Pullin – who was described as ‘the oracle of comedy by comedienne Sarah Millican – had been seen in his car in the early hours of the morning but was left undisturbed in the mistaken belief he had simply fallen asleep.

A post mortem examination initially failed to establish a cause of death and further tests were ordered before it was eventually determined Mr Pullin had died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The inquest heard that Mr Pullin had been to a dinner in London on July 16 and went to collect one of his three sons when he returned to his home in Oxfordshire from the capital.

He then had a conversation with his wife but this escalated into an argument and Mr Pullin got back into his car and drove away.

A worried Mrs Pullin called police shortly afterwards after becoming concerned for his welfare and officers regarding him as being at medium risk of harm.

He was deemed a high risk of harm the following morning when he failed to turn up to a meeting at the Elstree television studios.

Here he is (middle) after collecting a Bafta with the the cast but Mr Pullin had a long history of depression, his GP told an inquest

Mrs Pullin suggested officers searched the area around the Heyford Lakes complex near Standlake, Oxfordshire, as it was an area where he enjoyed fishing.

Police began their search around the lakes at 1.45pm and found Mr Pullin’s car at 3.30pm.

One of the officers, Adrian Brooksbank, described feeling ‘heady’ from the fumes after opening the car door and putting his head inside.

Phillip Hicks, the bailiff of the lakes at Heyford, told police he had seen Mr Pullin in his black Audi in the early hours of the morning but did not disturb him as he thought he was asleep.

He said in a statement read to the inquest in Oxford: ‘Quite a few fishermen in that area do sleep from time to time in

Mr Pullin, whose real name was Julian, was found at Heyford Lakes (pictured), Oxfordshire, after his wife told police to look for him there when he didn’t turn up for a meeting at Elstree Studios the day after an argument

The inquest heard that 57-year-old Mr Pullin had suffered from a number of health problems over the years, including osteoarthritis, shoulder pain and an eye condition that predisposed him to glaucoma.

His GP, Carrie Ladd, said in a statement that Mr Pullin also had a long history of depression and had recently been prescribed two types of anti-depressant medication, citalopram and trazodone.

Dr Ladd had asked Mr Pullin to attend an appointment to review his medication in July 2014 but he failed to turn up, the inquest heard.

Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp, assistant coroner for Oxfordshire, said in her summing up: ‘Jim Pullin was a well-known, Bafta award winning film producer and writer.

‘He had a history of depression, for which he had received treatment from mental health services in the past. He was also taking medication.

People became suspicious when Mr Pullin, whose real name was Julian, didn’t turn up for a meeting at Elstree Studios. He had most recently been working on Sky show A League Of Their Own (pictured)

‘I am satisfied that the deceased took his own life and intended to do so. The only conclusion I can come to is that of suicide.’

She added: ‘I would like to extend my sympathies to the widow and the three sons. I am sure it was a terrible shock.’


Jim Pullion started his career in the 1980s writing for Not The Nine O’Clock News in 82, going on to work on a range of titles including Clive Anderson Talks Back.

In the 90s his credits include the Russ Abbot Show, sports panel comedy They Think It’s All Over and Never Mind The Buzzcocks. He worked on more than 50 episodes of the cult pop comedy quiz, hosted by Mark Lamarr.

He worked on Channel 4s flagship Christmas comedy The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year with Jimmy Carr in the noughties, and Steve Coogan: As Alan Partridge And Other Less Successful Characters.

He also wrote for Friday Night With Jonathan Ross and recently took a more executive role with A League Of Their Own, for which him and the team won the Best Comedy and Comedy Entertainment Programme Bafta.

A League of Their Own, which Mr Pullen executively produced from 2010, was made by CPL Productions, and the company’s creative director Murray Boland paid tribute to the writer.

He said: ‘Jim was the rock on which A League of Their Own was built – an arbiter of comedy across 10 series that made it the funniest and most fun to produce programme that any of us has ever made.

‘He was a uniquely gracious man – always an oasis of calm, good humour and kindness to everyone who worked for him. He made the team who produced the show feel like family. He was their father figure.

‘He was justifiably proud of what he achieved but curiously bad at taking the credit for it. Generally he was happy for the countless producers he mentored to take the limelight. The truth was, he simply enjoyed the job and was brilliant at it. We will miss him deeply.’

Since his death, a foundation has been set up in his name, to raise awareness of mental illness.

The Jim Pullin Foundation has already raised more than £13,000 for charity.

Mr Pullin was represented by Dominic Lord at JFL Agency (formerly Jill Foster), which said: ‘He was a joy to work with and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts are with his family.