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On The Buses actor Stephen Lewis dies aged 88 - Yorkshire Hub

On The Buses actor Stephen Lewis dies aged 88

Actor Stephen Lewis, best known for playing Cyril “Blakey” Blake in sitcom On the Buses, has died aged 88.

Stephen Lewis

Lewis’ famous catch phrase as Blakey

His family said he died peacefully at 1.50am on Wednesday at a nursing home in Wanstead, east London.

He was “in high spirits” right until the end, his niece Rebecca Lewis said, adding that he had been in the care home for around three years.

“He was always singing and joking,” she said.

His nephew Peter Lewis said said his uncle’s health had gradually declined over the past few years, but said he died “quite peacefully”. He added “I’ll remember him as being a funny man.”

“He had terrible arthritis in one knee which really badly affected him, and many years ago he had prostate cancer – and whether that had come back we don’t know.”

stephen lewis as blakey

Stephen Lewis as his character Blakey in On the Buses.

Rashid Ebrahimkhan, Cambridge Nursing Home manager, said Lewis would still deliver his famous lines from On The Buses – “I’ll get you Butler” and “Get these buses out Butler”.

“He was still quite funny. He still had his sense of humour, very much so, like he was on On The Buses. He had the sense of humour until the last.”

Lewis was a merchant seaman before taking up acting. In 1960 he wrote Sparrers Can’t Sing, which was made into a film in 1963 staring Barbara Windsor, Roy Kinnear and Lewis himself.

Between 1969 and 1973 Lewis played Blakey in ITV sitcom On The Buses, the role for which he will be best remembered. On The Buses ran for 74 half hour episodes and led to three films, On the Buses, Mutiny on the Buses and Holiday on the Buses, as well as a spin off called Don’t Drink the Water where Blakey had retired to Spain.

In 1988 he took on one of his longest-running roles, playing the ironically-named Clem ‘Smiler’ Hemingway in BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine. Lewis would pop up as Hemingway in episodes for the next 17 years, until bad health forced him to leave the series in 2007.

Lewis’s funeral will take place on 25 August in Wanstead.

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