CHARLIE Sim, one of the best-known members of Scottish Television's One O'Clock Gang, has died.

The Scottish entertainer, who was in his late 70s, had been suffering from ill-health for many years. He died peacefully on Wednesday at Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow after a short illness.

Sim's death was prematurely reported 20 years ago in a book, Musical Memories, by the late Jack House, the Glasgow journalist and author. Friends said, that, rather than be offended , Sim had a good laugh about it.

He began his career as a feed to the legendary comedian Tommy Morgan, often appearing with him at the Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow.

He joined STV's One O'Clock Gang shortly after it began, 50 years ago this September. The gang also featured Dorothy Paul, Jimmy Nairn and Larry Marshall.

He was a constant star in the programme until it ended 10 years later.

He regularly appeared in pantomime and his more recent roles included the barman in the BBC Scotland comedy Rab C Nesbitt.

Last night Jimmy Nairn, 79, said: "Charlie was one of the most naturally funny people I ever encountered. He was a helluva nice fellow."

Una McLean, the veteran comedy actress, was among those who paid tribute to Sim last night.

Speaking from her home in Edinburgh, she said: "I knew him quite well. When he was in the One O'Clock Gang, I was just going into comedy and had my own show on STV. We met at several different social events over the years. Charlie was always a great laugh."

Sandy Ross, a senior producer with Scottish Television, said last night: "The One O'Clock Gang is probably one of the most successful programmes that Scottish Television ever made and clearly Charlie was an integral part of that.

Mr Ross, who knew Sim, added: "One of the abiding memories of Charlie apart from all his other talents, of being a good singer and actor was every Friday when the whole gang used to do a sketch set in a school. The whole country used to know Charlie's catchphrase I want my 'nana' (banana).

"Teachers across the country were annoyed because kids everywhere were going about saying I want my 'nana'."

Ted Williamson, a producer with STV at the height of the One O'Clock Gang's success, said: "The One O'Clock Gang would not have been the success it was without Charlie's flexibility and experience in doing practically anything in a comedy sketch."

Mr Williamson added: "Charlie was one of the survivors of the great days of Scottish variety theatre. Another personality has sadly left us but he will not be forgotten."