Veteran British comedian BERNARD MANNING has died following a kidney problem. He was 76. The comic passed away at the North Manchester General Hospital today (18Jun07), where doctors had been treating him for two weeks. Manning was taken into intensive care over the weekend (16/17Jun07) but only yesterday (17Jun07) his son Bernard Jr. said his condition was improving. During a long career, the star of TV and stand-up comedy shows was famous for controversial jokes that often targetted ethnic minorities. Showbiz agent Mickey Martin, a close friend of the comedian, says "I was going to visit him today but young Bernard called to say he's gone. "It's come all of a sudden as we thought he was on the mend. "He was the godfather of The Comedians and it's a sad loss to the world of comedy."