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, Mr Beeching!

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