Although it is 43 years since Rodney Bewes last played his career-defining role on TV – as the Thatcherite social-climber Bob Ferris in the Geordie sitcom Whatever Happened to The Likely Lads? – fans of the series will feel sharp loss at the news of his death, at the age of 79.
Viewers will have particular memories of Bewes as Bob because it represented an unusually perfect piece of casting. He had previously played the character in The Likely Lads, a black-and-white BBC sitcom broadcast between 1964-66, with James Bolam as Terry, a former schoolmate whose downwards trajectory was as steep as Bob’s rise towards the middle class. But it was when writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais suggested a sequel, answering the question,