Mystery of grandad's death from laughing at The Goodies finally solved
Alex Mitchell died while
watching The Battle of Ecky Thump
Doctors have solved the mystery of a man who famously died
from laughter while watching The Goodies after his
granddaughter suffered a near-fatal rare heart condition.
Mother-of-two Lisa Corke, 23, suffered a cardiac arrest and was
clinically dead for 55 minutes when she collapsed in her home.
But the young mum
was saved by her quick-thinking husband who administered CPR
for 15 minutes before the ambulance arrived.
Lisa, of New Road, Minster, was rushed to hospital,
put into an induced coma for 36 hours and diagnosed with Long QT
Amazingly, doctors looked into Lisa's medical history and
discovered her paternal granddad was Alex Mitchell - who
famously died laughing while watching an episode of The Goodies in
Alex, a bricklayer from Kings Lynn, Norfolk, was watching the
episode Kung Fu Kapers when he had a laughing fit and collapsed in
front of his distraught wife.
In a hilarious section of the episode, called The Battle of
Ecky Thump, Tim Brooke-Taylor uses a set of bagpipes while wearing
a kilt to defend himself against Bill Oddie, who is hurling black
puddings - pretending to demonstrate the Scottish martial art of
It had always been a mystery how the laughter
killed Alex, but doctors quickly realised he too must
have had Long QT syndrome, which is hereditary, and died from a
cardiac arrest - induced by the giggles.
Lisa, who is currently living with her parents as she makes a
full recovery, said: "My granddad died from one of the most famous
"I think at the time they probably thought he suffered a heart
attack caused by the laughter, but doctors realised he died from a
cardiac arrest caused by LQT syndrome after examining me.
"His death has been talked about for years and made all the
papers at the time - I never knew him, but it is strange to think
we both had this life-threatening condition.
Alex Mitchell, who
died from laughter while watching The Goodies, with his
wife Nessie. Picture: SWNS
"It's amazing really, I never knew I had LQT and we did not know
it was in the family. It apparently runs on my father's side.
"But luckily for me my husband was there who amazingly
administered CPR and saved my life. He really is my hero."
Lisa had just put her children to bed and was settling down
on the sofa with Mick, 33, when her words began to slur and she
suddenly slumped forward.
Brave Mick quickly sprang into action, laid his wife on the
floor and phoned 999.
He was told to put her into the recovery position, but when the
operator listened to her breathing, he was told to start CPR
Mick did this until the ambulance arrived and they were working
to try and stabilise Lisa at her home and all the way to Medway
When she arrived in A&E, Lisa was put into a
medically-induced coma to try to reduce the risk of brain damage.
"It was hard for us to deal with at the time, but we took comfort in the fact he passed away laughing…” – Lisa's father Alex
Lisa was in the coma for 36 hours and had her heart stopped
again two days later, but medics were able to bring it under
She has since been fitted with an implantable
cardioverter-defibrillator and has to take medication everyday for
the rest of her life.
Alex, who was originally from Edinburgh, died in front of his
wife Nessie, who is now 86 and daughter Xia Mitchell, who is now
He had two other children Liz Mitchell, 62, and Lisa's father
Alex, 54. Alex senior is survived by eight grandchildren and four
Lisa's father Alex, who works as a mortgage consultant said his
father was a "laid back" and "cheerful man" who would have been
happy to die laughing.
He said: "He was a great man. He was always really cheerful and
very laid back I think he found that particular sketch so funny
because he was Scottish.
"It was hard for us to deal with at the time, but we took
comfort in the fact he passed away laughing.
"He would have been happy to go while laughing. It is amazing
that after all these years we have finally found out what caused
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