ITV's director of television Peter Fincham expressed his sadness on hearing Mel Smith had died, describing the news as a "big moment" for the industry.
Speaking from the Latitude festival, Peter said he would remember Mel more as a friend than as a comedian - he was his partner in a company they ran together called Talkback Productions.
He said he would remember Mel as a "gentle man" who "wore his extraordinary talent very lightly".
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