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Hattie Jacques
(Movies & TV)
Jimmy Edwards
(Literature)
Tommy Cooper
(Movies & TV)
Arthur Lowe
(Movies & TV)
Peter Sellers
(Movies & TV)
Bob Todd
(Movies & TV)
Spike Milligan
(Literature)
 

See also

Eric Sykes

Knowledge Identifier: +Eric_Sykes

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Eric Sykes

English radio, television and film writer, actor and director whose performing career spanned more than 50 years add

Category: Movies & TV

Born in 1923.

Countries: United Kingdom (87%), (5%), Australia (3%)

Education: undef.

Main connections: Hattie Jacques, Jimmy Edwards, Tommy Cooper

Linked to: Thames Television, Royal Air Force, BBC, Lancaster University

 

Timeline


 

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Eric Sykes was born in 1923 add something


1950

Forming a partnership with Sid Colin, he worked on the BBC radio ventriloquism show "Educating Archie", which began in 1950, and "Variety Bandbox" add something

 

Sykes first came to prominence through his many radio credits as a writer and actor in the 1950s, most notably through his collaboration on "The Goon Show" scripts add something


1952

His hearing started to go in the Second World War, and he had an operation in 1952 followed by another two years later add something

 

He married Edith Eleanore Milbrandt on 14 February 1952 and they had three daughters, Catherine, Julie, Susan, and a son, David add something


1953

Sykes's small office above a grocer's shop at 130 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush, was shared from around 1953 by Milligan add something


1955

In 1955 Sykes wrote and performed in a BBC Christmas spectacular, a spoof pantomime called "Pantomania", which featured many well-known BBC personalities of the era; it was directed by Ernest Maxin, who went on to produce some of the most famous comedy routines for Morecambe & Wise add something


1956

In 1956 Sykes performed, wrote scripts, and acted as script editor for the pioneering Rediffusion TV comedy "The Idiot Weekly, Price 2d", the first attempt to translate the humour of the Goons to television add something

 

Later that year he wrote and appeared in another all-star spectacular called "Opening Night" which celebrated the opening of the 1956 National Radio Show at Earl's Court add something


1957

In 1957 he created "Closing Night", which closed the 1957 show add something

 

In 1957 he wrote and appeared in an edition of "Val Parnell's Saturday Spectacular", the first of two shows in this series that he wrote for Peter Sellers add something


1958

The first went out under the title of "Eric Sykes Presents Peter Sellers", and the second, in 1958, was called "The Peter Sellers Show" add something


1959

In 1959 Sykes wrote and directed the one-off BBC special "Gala Opening", with a cast that included 'Professor' Stanley Unwin and Hattie Jacques, and played a small supporting role in the Tommy Steele film "Tommy the Toreador" add something


1960

Forty-three of the shows in the "Sykes" series were re-workings of scripts from the 1960s series, which had been recorded in monochrome add something

 

He became a TV star in his own right in the early 1960s when he appeared with Hattie Jacques in several popular BBC comedy television series add something

 

These included a remake of the 1960s episode "Sykes and a Stranger", which had originally featured Leo McKern but the new version saw Peter Sellers taking the role of a childhood sweetheart of Hattie's who arrives on the Sykes's doorstep claiming Hattie as his fiancé add something

 

" were made between 1960 and 1965, ranging between six and nine episodes each, plus a short 1962 special in the BBC's annual "Christmas Night with the Stars" programme, now lost add something

 

The first series premiered on 29 January 1960 and were an immediate hit, establishing 'Eric and Hat' as one of Britain's most popular and enduring comedy partnerships add something


1961

In December 1961 Sykes co-starred with Warren Mitchell in "Clicquot et Fils", a one-off, 30-minute comedy written by Associated London Scripts colleagues Ray Galton and Alan Simpson add something

 

Deryck Guyler - One of his first television appearances was as the Manager of a TV repair shop in "Three Live Wires" in 1961 followed closely by his television success as one of Michael Bentine's sidekicks in the inventive and surreal BBC show "It's a Square World" , but Guyler gained greater recognition on the small screen in his association with comedian and writer Eric Sykes


1962

In 1962 Sykes played his first starring film role, being a travelling salesman in the comedy "Village of Daughters", set in an Italian village, but featuring a mostly British cast including John Le Mesurier , and Roger Delgado add something


1964

", first broadcast on 3 March 1964 under that title add something


1965

During 1965, Sykes made what proved to be the final series of "Sykes and A.. add something


1966

He stopped smoking cigarettes in November 1966, but continued to smoke cigars add something


1967

In 1967 Sykes expanded one of his routines into a 45-minute wordless colour short, "The Plank" which features, among others, Sykes, Tommy Cooper, Jimmy Edwards, Graham Stark, Hattie Jacques and future "Goodies" star Bill Oddie add something

 

Returning to television, Sykes and Jacques appeared in the 1967 special "Sykes Versus ITV" with Tommy Cooper and Ronnie Brody add something

 

Bill Oddie - The Plank - Oddie appeared as the hapless window cleaner in the Eric Sykes' comedy story "The Plank" in 1967

 

Roy Castle - Between 1967 and 1968 Castle co-starred with Jimmy Edwards in the London West End run of the comedy farce show "Big Bad Mouse" when Eric Sykes had to withdraw because of illness

 

Jimmy Edwards - Edwards frequently worked with fellow comedian Eric Sykes, acting in the short films written by Sykes, "The Plank" which starred Tommy Cooper, alongside Arthur Lowe and Ronnie Barker in the remake of "The Plank" during 1979 and in "Rhubarb" , which again featured Sykes


1968

In 1968 he had a supporting role in an Anglo-American film co-production, the Edward Dmytryk western "Shalako", starring Sean Connery and Brigitte Bardot add something


1969

In 1969 Sykes co-starred with Spike Milligan in the ill-fated television sit-com "Curry & Chips", a satire on racial prejudice created and written by Johnny Speight and made for London Weekend Television add something

 

The latter special, a remake of his 1969 short film "Rhubarb" which Sykes directed, featured many of his old friends including Jimmy Edwards, Bob Todd, Charlie Drake, Bill Fraser, Roy Kinnear, Beryl Reid and Norman Rossington add something

 

Spike Milligan - In early 1969 Milligan starred in the ill-fated situation comedy "Curry & Chips", created and written by Johnny Speight and featuring Milligan's old friend and colleague Eric Sykes


1970

He was a follower of Oldham Athletic and at one point in the 1970s he was an Honorary Director of the club add something

 

In 1970 Sykes returned to BBC television with a guest appearance in an episode of "Till Death Us Do Part" add something

 

Terry-Thomas - In the 1970s he reprised his character from the first two of the films above along with Eric Sykes to make high quality cinema and TV advertisements for Benson & Hedges cigarettes


1972

In 1972, seven years after the cancellation of "Sykes and A.. add something

 

Sixty-eight episodes of "Sykes" were made between 1972 and 1979 add something


1973

In 1973 Sykes had a small role as a police sergeant in the Douglas Hickox thriller "Theatre of Blood", starring Vincent Price with an all-star supporting cast including Jack Hawkins, Diana Rigg, Robert Morley, Diana Dors, Michael Hordern, Arthur Lowe, Dennis Price and Milo O'Shea add something


1975

They would return to the production on and off until 1975, touring the UK twice and taking the show abroad, including to Australia add something

 

Richard Wattis died suddenly in February 1975, so from series 4 onwards his character was replaced by a new neighbour, Melanie Rumbelow, played by Joy Harrington add something


1977

He wrote the script for the 1977 Yorkshire Television adaptation of "Charley's Aunt" and appeared in the role of Brassett, playing alongside Jimmy Edwards and Judi Maynard add something

 

In 1977, Sykes wrote and starred in another television special, "Eric Sykes Shows a Few of Our Favourite Things", with Hattie Jacques, Irene Handl, Jimmy Edwards and Peter Cook add something


1979

It was his first series since the Sykes series ended in 1979, and was widely condemned as unfunny, racist and sexist add something

 

The third version of "The Plank" was made in 1979 for Thames TV as a half-hour TV special, with a cast including Eric, Arthur Lowe , Charlie Drake, Charles Hawtrey and Wilfrid Hyde-White add something

 

Sykes was the subject of Thames Television's "This Is Your Life", broadcast on 25 December 1979 with guests including Sean Connery, Spike Milligan, Douglas Bader and Hattie Jacques add something

 

Dennis Kirkland - During this period, he worked with such top comics as Tommy Cooper, Ken Dodd, Jim Davidson and Eric Sykes, whose 1979 remake of "The Plank" won at the Montreux TV Festival


1980

Sykes wrote and appeared in two Thames Television specials broadcast during 1980 -- "The Likes of Sykes" and "Rhubarb Rhubarb" add something

 

The series was brought to an enforced end by Hattie Jacques's death from a heart attack in October 1980 add something


1981

In 1981 Sykes wrote, directed and starred in the offbeat comedy "If You Go Down in the Woods Today" for Thames, with a cast including Roy Kinnear, Fulton Mackay and George Sewell add something


1982

During 1982 Sykes played the Chief Constable in the slapstick police comedy film "The Boys in Blue", which starred the comedy duo Cannon and Ball, with Jon Pertwee add something


1984

In 1984 Sykes played the Genie in the children's film "Gabrielle and the Doodleman", which featured Windsor Davies , Bob Todd, Lynsey De Paul and Gareth Hunt add something


1985

In 1985 he played the Mad Hatter in the Anglia Television serial adaptation of "Alice In Wonderland", joining an all-star cast that included Michael Bentine, Leslie Crowther and Leonard Rossiter, and he had an uncredited role in the Julien Temple film musical "Absolute Beginners" which stars Patsy Kensit add something


1986

In 1986 Sykes played Horace Harker in "The Six Napoleons", an episode of the Granada TV adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes stories starring Jeremy Brett add something


1988

Sykes produced one further silent movie for Thames in 1988, "Mr add something


1989

In 1989, Sykes starred as the Secretary in the ITV situation comedy "The Nineteenth Hole", written by Johnny Speight; it was not a success and ran for only one series add something


1990

For Thames TV that year he appeared in and wrote "The Eric Sykes 1990 Show" with Tommy Cooper and Dandy Nichols and "It's Your Move", a wordless slapstick comedy depicting the travails of a couple moving into a new home, who hire an accident-prone firm of house removers, headed by Sykes add something


1993

Mary Hayley Bell - She had a brief uncredited role as a nursing home resident in the 1993 Eric Sykes film "The Big Freeze", opposite her husband John Mills


1997

From 1997, Sykes, together with Tim Whitnall and Toyah Willcox, provided narration for the BBC pre-school TV series "Teletubbies" add something


2000

In 2000 Sykes appeared as Mollocks, the servant of Dr Prunesquallor, in the BBC's mini-series adaptation of Mervyn Peake's "Gormenghast", which was the last production to feature both Milligan and Sykes add something


2001

In 2001 he had one of his few serious screen roles, playing a servant in the blockbuster supernatural thriller film "The Others", starring Nicole Kidman add something


2002

In 2002 he suffered a stroke and underwent heart bypass surgery add something


2003

Robert Bathurst - In 2003, he returned to theatre for the first time in four years to play Vershinin in "The Three Sisters", opposite Kristin Scott Thomas and Eric Sykes


 

In the British New Year Honours List published on 31 December 2004, Sykes was awarded a CBE for services to drama, following a petition by MPs add something


2005

His autobiography "If I Don't Write It, Nobody Else Will" was published in 2005 add something

 

In 2005 he played Frank Bryce in "Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire" add something


2007

In 2007 he appeared in "Last of the Summer Wine" and in "New Tricks", as well as taking a small role in an episode of the sitcom "My Family" add something

 

N. F. Simpson - A radio documentary about his life and work, "Reality is an Illusion Caused by Lack of N. F. Simpson", produced by Curtains For Radio on BBC Radio 4 on 5 April 2007, featured contributions from Eleanor Bron, Jonathan Coe, John Fortune, Sir Jonathan Miller, Sir John Mortimer, David Nobbs, Ned Sherrin, Eric Sykes and Simpson himself


2010

In October 2010 Sykes appeared in "Hallowe'en Party", an episode in the twelfth series of "Agatha Christie's Poirot" add something


Eric Sykes died in 2012 add something

 

Eric Sykes died on 4 July 2012, aged 89, at his home in Esher, Surrey, England, after a short illness add something