THE worlds of comedy and English literature have said farewell to a talented man who left a high-flying television career to be an antiquarian bookseller in York.

Jack Duncan rose to be head of light entertainment at Yorkshire Television as he produced series such as "My Old Man" "Queenie's Castle" "Albert" and "On the House".

But in 1974, he turned his back on television and for four decades, starting in a shed, he ran his bookselling business with shops in Boston Spa, Harrogate and Fulford as well as in Museum Street, near the British Museum in London.

Two decades ago, he opened Jack Duncan Books in Fossgate, central York, where he headed a group of six booksellers and whose premises can hold tens of thousands of books. The shop still operates, as Fossgate Books.

Mr Duncan retired a few years ago, and passed away on February 22. His funeral was held on Friday. Mr Duncan is survived by his wife Mary, three children and several grandchildren.

Long-time friend and fellow bookseller George Ramsden said: "He will be remembered as a brilliant, talented man who chose to withdraw to York and be an antiquarian bookseller, which was his first love. He was extraordinary, very northern, more Yorkshire than Yorkshire."

Mr Duncan was born in 1937 in Northumberland and played cricket for the county as a fast bowler. When a pupil at Newcastle Grammar School, he produced Christopher Marlowe's Dr Faustus with a cast of fourth year students, and when studying English at University College, Oxford, produced Tamburlaine by the same Elizabethan playwright.

He helped found the satirical magazine Private Eye with Richard Ingrams and Paul Foot, helped make Les Dawson a superstar comedian and gave the cartoonist Willie Rushton his first acting job. He worked as a producer on the ground-breaking TV satirical show That Was The Week That Was, presented by David Frost and written by many of the top writers of the sixties and seventies.

Although not an artist himself, he collaborated with top cartoonists both in producing cartoons and holding cartoon exhibitions at his shop.

He was also a columnist for the then Yorkshire Evening Press, under the name Yorick.

His love of antiquarian books dates back to his childhood when he used to visit a well-known antiquarian book shop in Newcastle. When he went into the book business himself, he was entirely self-taught, but his reputation reached as far as Japan, and for some years, representatives from Japanese universities would visit annually to buy books from him.

He did not like computers and technology, recording his transactions in a handwritten ledger, and was known for his firm views on certain subjects. He also inspired loyalty from many who worked with him.