Stephen Lewis (Blakey)
Born London 17 December 1926.
Died peacefully aged 88 at 1.50am on Wednesday August 12 2015 in a Cambridge nursing home
World news today reporting on Stephen Lewis's funeral VIDEO ****
"On The Buses was a great show," he says. "We
had such a laugh doing it, and it was a real family atmosphere on set." The show, which ran from 1970-5 also spawned
three films - the first one, On The Buses, was the biggest grossing British film of 1971. A prestigious blue plaque has been
placed at Elstree Studios, Herfordshire, to commemorate the movies made there. The 1970s were a time of classic sitcom - the
way they should be. And that isn't the voice of a drunken nostalgic.
How many modern day writers
could take a situation so few are familiar to, like working as a bus driver or being in prison (Porridge) and still make a
wholly believable, successful, accessible show? Nowadays it's all flatsharing sex people.
don't think modern comedy is up to much," agrees Lewis. "I'm not going to name names, but some of them go
too far. We didn't need to spell out the rude jokes to make them funny. It was a family show. Some programmes now are
on too late, and I would feel uncomfortable watching them with children around." Men Behaving Badly springs to mind.
"Like I said, I'm not naming names, but I don't have much time for that.
"We were smutty,
for sure but if ever Butler was getting too saucy I'd come along and say 'huh-huh-huh' and stop it before it went
too far." And even shows like One Foot In The Grave, which was well written, were on too late at night. Prime sitcom
slots should be 7.30pm - and what do you have at the moment? Docusoaps and factual shows. It's very sad," says Lewis.
Stan Butler (Reg Varney) and his best pal Jack (Bon Grant) would regularly be smutting up the "new clippy bird",
but failing more often than scoring. "See?" says Lewis.
"They weren't sex
maniacs. They aspired to be, but Stan still lived with his mother. That was the joke."
Stephen has recently
taken up in Last Of The Summer Wine, playing Smiler - essentially an Inspector Blakey without his bus. "I love it,"
he says. "I feel at home." Buses co-star Anna Karen, who played Olive, recently turned up in EastEnders as Peggy
Mitchell's sister. Like Anna, Stephen is keen to prove there's more life in the old dog yet. "I know I'm
going to be limited in the roles I get now, but I don't plan to stop acting yet," he says.
love it too much. I love the sense of belonging to a family, which is all On The Buses was. It wasn't work. It was too
much fun to be work."
Thanks to Steve at Bubblegun
Stephen Lewis was born in London, . He immortalised the part of the petty-minded, Bus Inspector
known as 'Blakey'
1961 premier Sparrers Can’t Sing" Wyndham's Theatre
for the West-End Premiere of this new musical written by Stephen Lewis. Stephen playing the part of "Wilkie"
Made into a movie and starred Stephen Lewis
Staircase 1969 Starring Richard Buron and Rex Harrision.
On the Buses (1969),
Seven Deadly Sins1971
On the Buses 1971,
Mutiny On the Buses 1972
Last of the Summer Wine 1973,
on the Buses 1973
"Don't Drink the Water 1974,
Adventures of a Taxi Driver 1976
The Last Remake of
Beau Geste 1977,
Adventures of a Plumber's Mate 1978,
Jack & The Beanstalk Xmas Panto as Dame Durden
1985. York Theatre Royal It featured: Nyree Dawn Porter,
Kate O'Mara, David Janson, Mark Wynter, Stephen Lewis Peter Byrne Andy Crwford P J Davidson, Hazel Bainbridge, Francesca
Longrigg, Brian McDermott, Howard David and Tom Griffin.
The Krays 1990,
The All New Alexei
Sayle Show 1994,The Great Kandinsky 1995,
Oh, Doctor Beeching 1996, 3 SERIES (played Harry Lambert, the signalman)
The Generation Game 1998/99,
Last of The Summer Wine 2005-2009