“For me there’s a daffodil in every dustbin.”
Eric Sykes, who died today.
Thank you, Eric, for all the pleasure you gave to our family, especially our mother who loved watching Sykes and Hattie.
Mr Brough gave me my voice but you Eric, gave me the words! Archie Andrews.
Ian, thank you very much for this unique insight into two lovely men. Thank you, too, for the link to your book. I didn’t know that Richard Wattis was a Wednesbury man. A Black Country hero!
I am sad to hear of the recent death of comic genius Eric Sykes – last of the Vaudevillian style entertainers.
He scripted so many marvellous comedy shows like THE PLANK and SYKES and wrote for others. So many great comedians appeared in his shows, many also sadly gone, but who can ever forget Eric, Deryck Guyler, Hattie Jacques, Richard Wattis in SYKES and Tommy Cooper, Spike Milligan, Jimmy Tarbuck, Jimmy Edwards and Roy Castle, etc in THE PLANK.
SYKES was the longest running TV sitcom ever made, starting in the early 1960’s and ending in 1980 and still holds that title. Eric wrote every script for that sitcom and kept it going with a passion, fighting for its total existence for nearly twenty years. Hattie and Eric played twins, Richard Wattis played the nosey neighbour Charles Brown and Deryck Guyler played PC Corky-Turnbull.
THE PLANK was made in 1966/67 and was probably the last successful slap-stick comedy film ever made. Others were tried at later dates, but the public mood had moved away from that type of comedy by then.
When I wrote a book about Richard Wattis between 2003 – 2005, Eric contacted me with this memory :
“I have so many memories of Richard, he was a wonderful actor. There is one particular memory that always makes me smile when I think about Richard.
I had been asked to do a world tour with the show and Hattie Jacques and Deryck Guyler were delighted, however Richard came to me with that wonderful look he had and told me that he couldn’t possibly join us all on the world tour because he had such a fear of flying. I tried to talk to him in the hope that I would convince him that everything would be all right. I’ll never forget he looked at me and said ‘Eric, infact I have to take a Librium to cross the road’.
I never did persuade him and we went ahead with the world tour but it was never the same without Richard”
Eric was a real gentleman and a kind person, with an affinity for his fans. He is probably meeting all those he knew and worked with in the big theatre bar in the sky as I write. He is missed already and will be missed for many years to come. Sadly we will never see or meet his ilk again and it is a real pity he also never received a knighthood in his lifetime. Another debate for another time I feel.
May Eric RIP !
Rest in Peace Eric. I recall him & hattie in “Sykes” in the 70s, & watching the Plank & Rubarb (of which I have often been sited as saying frequently!!!) & adored them all. Wonderful, Charming, Gifted, talented Man. I’ll treasure the memories you have given me.
He did a panto at Windsor and my daughter was one of the children invited onto the stage. He was so lovely with them all. I had to explain to her afterwards how famous he had been!
He had a sense of humour that, like the Milligan, was so much smarter and subtle than the average ‘woops there goes my missus’ so called comedians of his post war days. Apparently when he lost his hearing he would learn everyone else’s lines and lip read his cues
Reminds me of my dad to. He was funny. RIP Eric …..I SAID RIP
There must be a flippin’ forest floor of daffs over at Co-op HQ!
I loved Eric Sykes – he reminded me of my father – sigh.
We won’t see his like again.
And we have a very tenuous connection. Still in short trousers, I watched him and Tommy Cooper make ‘The Plank’ at the end of my road, in Hayes Middlesex.
Sad to say I was much too young to appreciate it. RIP Eric, thanks for the laughs.
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