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Top comedians stand-up for the Stroke Association

Press Release   •   May 06, 2014 12:04 BST

Some of the UK’s best-loved comedians are taking a stand against stroke to support the Stroke Association’s ‘Not just a funny turn’ campaign. To mark Action on Stroke Month this May the charity has produced a film urging people not to dismiss a mini-stroke (also known as a TIA or transient ischaemic attack) as a funny turn and to treat its symptoms as a medical emergency.

Comedy legends Barry Cryer and Mel Giedroyc are joined by daytime favourite Paul O’Grady,  writer of BBC Two’s award-winning series Hebburn, Jason Cook, stars of stage and screen Miriam Margolyes, Honor Blackman and Tim Piggot Smith, and fellow stand-up comedians, Tim Vine, Stephen K Amos and Markus Birdman as they share their favourite joke for the Stroke Association.

Every year, around 46,000 people in the UK have a mini-stroke for the first time. The symptoms are the same as stroke but last for a short time and people appear to return to normal. The Stroke Association’s Not just a funny turn campaign aims to raise awareness that the fleeting symptoms of a mini-stroke should not be dismissed as ‘just a funny turn.’

Comedian, writer and actor Sanjeev Bhaksar, who is supporting the campaign, said: “I'm used to seeing the funny side of things, but I know that a stroke is not a joke. The Stroke Association's Not just a funny turn campaign has an extremely important message. A stroke is always a medical emergency, even if the symptoms occur briefly.

"I hope the campaign will help more people recognise the warning signs of a stroke, and to take action and seek urgent medical attention if the symptoms strike."

The symptoms of a stroke or mini-stroke usually come on suddenly. Other symptoms, sometimes associated with mini-stroke can include weakness or numbness on one side of the body, loss of
vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes, memory loss, confusion or a sudden fall.

Mel Giedroyc says, “I’m very pleased to join some of the UK’s top comedians in supporting the Stroke Association’s Not just a funny turn campaign. We’ve got some cracking jokes lined up, but there’s an important message behind our puns: mini-stroke is not just a funny turn.

“I know from my own family experience how stroke can change lives forever. So for Action on Stroke Month, let’s raise some awareness of the early warning signs of stroke.”

The launch of the ‘Not just a funny turn’ campaign and report marks the start of Action on Stroke Month 2014, which is supported by Legal & General. To find out more, please visit


A mini-stroke (also known as a TIA or transient ischaemic attack) is the same as a stroke, except
that the symptoms last for a short amount of time and no longer than 24 hours.

More information about TIAs can be found at

A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. There are around 152,000 strokes in the UK every year and it is the leading cause of severe adult disability. There are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of stroke.  
Stroke Association is a charity. We believe in life after stroke and we’re leading a community of people to change the world for people affected by stroke.  We work directly with stroke survivors and their families and carers, with health and social care professionals and with scientists and researchers. We campaign to improve stroke care and support people to make the best recovery they can. We fund research to develop new treatments and ways of preventing stroke. The Stroke Helpline (0303 303 3100) provides information and support on stroke. More information can be found at 

Legal & General is supporting Action on Stroke Month as part of its a strong commitment to improve its understanding of stroke and in particular mini-strokes, to improve the products and services offered, as well as potentially the quality of life, through preventative measures, for its customers; business partners and employees. Legal & General’s overarching social purpose of Every Day Matters  goes beyond just the operations of corporate social responsibility and it also drives our
business results. We play an important role for our customers, whether it’s protecting against unforeseen circumstances, helping to save for retirement or investing money wisely so that it grows over time. We do our best to deliver what really matters to help our nearly eight million customers manage their financial future.

 The Legal & General Group, established in 1836, is one of the UK’s leading financial services companies.  As at 31 December 2013, they were responsible for investing £452 billion worldwide on behalf of investors, policyholders and shareholders and has over 7.9 million customers in the UK for life assurance, pensions, investments and general insurance plans.