The Voice of Death is dead.

Ian Richardson died today. I mostly knew him from his fantastic performance as Sir Francis Urquhart in House of Cards and its two sequels. I also enjoyed him playing the Voice of Death in the Sky adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s novel Hogfather broadcast last Christmas. One of very few lines in the script to that two-part series that deviated from the novel was that line. The line from the Francis Urquhart series that everyone who’s seen it remembers. "You might think so; I couldn’t possibly comment" Even as Death, Richardson couldn’t get away from his most succesful role.

I’d been rather hoping that he’d stay on for a sequel to Hogfather. From the accompanying "Making Of" documentary, there was no indication that he wouldn’t be up to it. At 72, he looked fit and in good spirits, and indeed the news reports say he wasn’t ill.

I’d been singing Ian Richardson’s praises to my younger studio-mates, telling them that they had to see the Urquhart series some time. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any preview material on YouTube, otherwise I’d have taken the opportunity to show some right here and now.

Below, though, is a longish excerpt from Hogfather, towards the end of which Richardson says the line.
Watch it.