Obituary: Rodney Bewes

Rodney Bewes, who has died old 79, found fame as the aspirational Bob in the BBC sitcom The Most likely Lads.

Teaming Bewes with James Bolam, this regularly drew audiences of more than twenty million.

Despite the achievement of a sequel, the two fell away in spectacular style – successfully ending the chance of the series getting continued.

It turned out as the peak of Bewes’s career and later found himself reduced in order to playing a series of less distinguished functions.

Rodney Bewes was created in Bingley, Yorkshire, on twenty-seven November 1937.

Their family later moved to Luton within Bedfordshire where his schooling had been often interrupted by ill-health.

He answered a paper letter from a BBC producer requesting children to appear in the corporation’s Little one’s Hour.

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Picture caption He appeared together with his friend Tom Courtenay within Billy Liar

By the age of 14 he previously appeared in a number of BBC TV shows including a role as Joe within a 1952 adaptation of The Pickwick Documents. He also secured a place on the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art’s preparatory school.

“All the kids were posh and they had been the children of actors in the West Finish of London and I’m simply this boy from Bingley, close to Bradford, and broad Yorkshire, inch he later recalled.

After completing his National Services in the RAF he returned in order to Rada.

He or she financed his studies by washing in hotels at night, something that triggered him to fall asleep during the day which usually culminated in him being requested to leave the academy.

He managed to secure several small stage roles, as well as components in TV productions including Dixon of Dock Green, Emergency Keep 10 and Z-Cars.

New wave

He made his film first appearance in 1962 in Prize associated with Arms, a yarn about a gang that attempts to rob an army payroll convoy. The film is notable for early performances by a number of later well-known actors including Tom Bell, Jack Might and Fulton Mackay.

A year later he secured the role of Arthur Crabtree in Billy Liar, alongside his friend Tom Courtenay.

It had been the age of British cinema’s so-called new wave, when film-makers were turning their attention to gritty working-class dramas and desperate for actors with regional accents.

Image caption There is a brief spell as straight guy for Basil Brush

Despite Bewes hailing from Yorkshire, rather than Tyneside, he or she was cast as Bob Ferris in The Likely Lads, a sitcom conceived by Dick Clement plus Ian La Frenais.

His aspirational character was in immediate contrast to that of his buddy, Terry Collier, the workshy, negative figure played by James Bolam. Much of the comedy revolved about Bob’s attempts to become middle-class when confronted with constant derision from Terry.

The final series ended within 1966 and Bewes played numerous TV parts and was also within films including Man in a Travel suitcase, Spring and Port Wine and also a star-studded musical version of Alice in Wonderland in which he performed the Knave of Hearts.

He spent a year since Mr Rodney, who was one of a number of stooges for the puppet Basil Clean, before creating and starring within the ITV sitcom Dear Mother… Adore Albert. It showcased his abilities as a scriptwriter and proved to be favored by audiences.


In 1973 he or she teamed up with James Bolam once again for Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads, a sequel towards the original series.

The series saw Bolam’s personality Terry return from his period away in the Army to discover that will Bewes’s Bob has bought their own house, secured a managerial work and is engaged to the boss’s girl.

Off stage the particular pair enjoyed a warm connection.

“We had been great friends, ” said Bewes.

“When the babies were born, his was your first house I went to. inch

In 1975 there is a film spin-off which proved to be the final time the pair worked collectively. Bolam was famous for guarding their privacy and was furious whenever Bewes let slip to a paper that Bolam’s wife, the celebrity Susan Jameson, was pregnant.

Image caption Whatever Happened to the Probably Lads was even more successful compared to original series

After a fraught phone call the 2 did not speak to each other again. Bolam was so incensed that he declined to appear on an edition of This Is the Life, which featured his previous acting partner.

“It’s this actor’s ego issue – he thinks he is essential, ” Bewes once said.

“Actors aren’t important. I am not important; I have fun. I believe Jimmy takes himself very significantly as an actor. ”

Bewes’s acting career never once again scaled the heights of Most likely Lads. There were bit parts within the films Jabberwocky and The Wildcats associated with St Trinians and he was able to make use of his abilities as a serious actor or actress in a 1980 TV adaptation from the Restoration play ‘Tis Pity She actually is a Whore.

One-man shows

Earlier in his career he had made an appearance in productions of She Syeps to Conquer and there was a task in a 1984 production of George Gascoigne’s play Big in Brazilian at the Old Vic Theatre working in london, with Prunella Scales and Timothy West.

In the exact same year he also appeared in the Doctor Who story entitled Revival of the Daleks. It was one of their last significant appearances on the little screen.

He had several stage success with his one-man displays, Three Men in a Boat plus Diary of a Nobody, which this individual toured for more than a decade. This individual won a Stella Artois Reward for the former at the 1997 Edinburgh Festival.

Image caption His part in Resurrection of the Daleks had been one of his last TV looks

Their wife, the designer Daphne Dark, whom he married in 1973, acted as his helper, creating the stage and the props just for his various performances.

Bewes never gave up on the concept of a revival of The Likely Lads, feeling that the characters were nevertheless relevant 40 years on.

“Instead of being the Likely Lads, we’d have been the Unlikeliest Granddads, ” he said.

“We would have been sitting down on a park bench in a set of grubby grey anoraks, feeding the particular pigeons and grumping about young people. ”

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