Rodney Bewes 1937-2017

The DWC is sad to announce that Rodney Bewes has passed away aged 79.

Bewes will be familiar to Doctor Who fans as Stien from the Fifth Doctor story Resurrection of the Daleks, however, he’s 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?

In 1964 Bewes won the role of Ferris, the working class boy made good, in the Dick Clements and Ian La Frenais sitcom The Likely Lads, where he appeared opposite James Bolam as Terry Collier. Twenty episodes were made, detailing their struggle to make sense of a changing world, while facing the usual temptations of beer, football, and girls.

The series ended in 1966 but a reunion was on the cards and in 1973 the series returned, this time in colour and with a new title, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? The follow-up series was a tremendous hit and part of that success was down to the double act of Bewes and Bolam. However, 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.

Bewes was born in 1937 in Morley, West Yorkshire and was house-bound from a young age due to childhood asthma but he achieved his ambition to become an actor, first appearing on stage at the age of 14. He attended 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.

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 yesterday:

“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.”

DWC sends its deepest condolences to Rodney Bewes daughter and three sons at this difficult time.

  • The Lazy Womble

    I am not a huge fan of The Likely Lads or its successor. Don’t know why. It just doesn’t grip me. For me, Rodney Bewes great contribution to television was as Mr Rodney.

  • Ranger

    Um, you might want to change the last sentence!

    Loved Whatever Happened… RIP Rodney.

  • FrancoPabloDiablo

    Thanks for Bob and Stien. I’m sorry Bolam was so full of himself and so denied you (and your co-stars) royalties for a slightly misjudged anecdote (not even a malicious one). Rodney seemed like a genuinely lovely lad!

  • Robert Carnegie

    Stien was an interesting, complex and subtle character, very well played by Rodney Bewes. There was emotional truth but also a hidden side, and then another hidden side… Meanwhile, as happened in several Doctor Who stories around then, lots of people got killed, but that’s Daleks for you.

    BBC Radio 4 Extra is running “A Very Private Man”, a situation comedy series he starred in in the 1980s, which I don’t remember hearing before. It’s light and it’s old fashioned but that needn’t be a bad thing. He’s a man who decides to move with his wife to live in the country and get away from their intrusive friends and family. If the story was by Charles Dickens or Arthur Conan Doyle then it would be incredibly sinister and criminal, but that’s not where they’re going. Well, not so far. Maybe he has a hidden side here too…