Thursday, August 13, 2015

Stephen Lewis has gone to the great bus garage in the sky

Sad sad news. Stephen Lewis, who played Blakey in On the Buses, has died at the age of 88.

I once argued that Blakey was hero of that show. If you doubt me, remember that Stumbling and Mumbling has proved that Reg Varney is responsible for all of Britain's economic ills.

After On the Buses, Lewis was known for appearing in Last of the Summer Wine. But his career before it is far more interesting.

Sparrows Can't Sing was a 1963 film starring Barbara Windsor and James Booth that depicted social change in the East End. It is remembered for its premiere, which took place in that part of London and in which the Kray twins tried to play the local seigneurs.

And who wrote the screenplay for the film? That's right. Stephen Lewis.

It grew from a play called Sparrers Can't Sing that was put on at at Joan Littlewood's Stratford East . Given her ensemble method of working, I am sure others had a hand in it.

But have a look at IMDB and you will see that Stephen Lewis got the writing credit.

He also appeared in the film, playing a caretaker who relished enforcing the regulations that governed his shiny new tower block. You can see where Blakey came from.

Later. I have posted a clip of Stephen Lewis on The All New Alexei Sayle Show in 1994.

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