Stephen Lewis, On the Buses' 'Blakey', dies aged 88
Actor Stephen Lewis, best known for his role as officious inspector "Blakey" in the 1970s ITV sitcom On the Buses, has died aged 88, his family has announced.
Lewis also played "Smiler" in the BBC's Last of the Summer Wine.
Born in east London in 1926, he got his start at the Theatre Royal Stratford East under Joan Littlewood.
According to his family, the actor died "quite peacefully" in a nursing home in Wanstead, east London, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
In his role as Inspector Cyril "Blakey" Blake, Lewis constantly clashed, and was usually outwitted by, Reg Varney's wily bus driver Stan Butler.
One of his catchphrases was "I'll get you for this, Butler" - one he was happy to repeat, according to the manager of the nursing home where he lived out his final years.
The popular sitcom ran from 1969 to 1973 and spawned three big-screen spin-offs: On the Buses, Mutiny on the Buses and Holiday on the Buses.
Lewis's other sitcoms included Don't Drink the Water, On the Buses' short-lived, Spain-based sequel, and the BBC's railway-themed Oh, Doctor Beeching!
He also appeared as Clem "Smiler" Hemmingway in more than 130 episodes of Last of the Summer Wine, starting in 1988 and continuing until 2007.
Lewis wrote Sparrers (later Sparrows) Can't Sing, a success for Littlewood's Theatre Workshop that gave Barbara Windsor one of her most notable early roles.
Peter Lewis, the actor's nephew, said his uncle's health had gradually deteriorated in recent years but that he had kept his spirits up right until the end.
"He still had his sense of humour, very much so," said Rashid Ebrahimkhan, manager of the Cambridge Nursing Home. "He was very resilient until the last."