Rodney Bewes appeared in Doctor Who in 1984, playing Stien in the Fifth Doctor story Resurrection of the Daleks, but was best known to British audiences for playing Bob Ferris in 1960's sitcom The Likely Lads and its sequel Whatever Happened to The Likely Lads.
Rodney Bewes was born in 1937 in Morley, West Yorkshire. Childhood asthma kept him house-bound until the age of 12, but he achieved his ambition of becoming an actor, first appearing on stage at the age of 14. He studied for a time at RADA but dropped out.
In 1952 he made his television debut in Mystery at Mountcliffe Chase, a BBC Children's drama. He played Joe in The Pickwick Papers and appeared in supporting roles in series such as Dixon of Dock Green, Emergency-Ward 10 and Z Cars.
In 1964 he won the role with which he would make his name, the working class boy made good, Bob Ferris, in the sitcom The Likely Lads. The series, written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, pitted Bewes up against James Bolam as Terry Collier. Twenty episodes were made, detailing the struggle of two working-class boys from the North East, trying to make sense of a changing world, while facing the usual temptations of beer football, and girls.
In 1966 the series ended and the actors moved on, but a reunion was on the cards and in 1973 the series returned, this time in colour and with the new title Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?. The series was a tremendous hit as viewers followed the sparing between Bob, trying to improve his lot by moving into a detached house and getting a job as an executive, and Terry, desperately trying to cling onto his working-class roots.
Part of the success of the series was the double act of Bewes and Bolam, whose on-screen chemistry was a masterclass of timing and pathos. But the deep friendship was a TV illusion and in reality, the two actors had a stormy relationship. An interview given by Bewes in 1976 in which he talked about Bolam and his wife created a rift that would never be healed. Bewes called his co-star to apologise after the piece was published, but Bolam hung up and never spoke to him again.
Other roles included Knave of Hearts in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Albert Courtnay in Albert! and Reg Last in Just Liz . In 1969 he spent a year as Basil Brush's sidekick Mr Rodney.
His agent announced his death earlier today
It is with great sadness that we confirm that our dear client, the much-loved actor Rodney Bewes, passed away this morning. Rodney was a true one-off. We will miss his charm and ready wit.Rodney Bewes is survived by a daughter and three sons.