Nov. 14th, 1936
London, England, UK
Stephen Lewis' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1990 - The Krays
1973 - Holiday On The Buses
1971 - On The Buses
Guest TV Roles
the Driving Instructor
Stephen Lewis (born Stephen Cato 14 November 1936) is an English actor. He is best known for his roles as Inspector Cyril "Blakey" Blake in the LWT sitcom On the Buses, Clem "Smiler" Hemmingway in the longest running sitcom Last of the Summer Wine and Harry Lambert in BBC Television's Oh, Doctor Beeching!.
Career Lewis began his career as a merchant seaman, but was persuaded to go to a performance by the Theatre Workshop, under their director Joan Littlewood. It was common, after these performances, to invite members of the audience to meet the cast. He was invited to an audition and landed the part; he left the sea, becoming a member of the company, and made his West End debut with the transfer of Brendan Behan's The Hostage in 1958. In 1960 he wrote Sparrers Can't Sing with the Theatre Workshop, which was made into a 1963 film, starring Barbara Windsor, Roy Kinnear and Lewis himself.
In 1969 Lewis starred in his best remembered role as Blakey in the British sitcom On the Buses, which ran for 74 half-hour episodes and spawned three films, On the Buses (1971), Mutiny on the Buses (1972) and Holiday on the Buses (1973); he co-wrote 12 episodes with fellow star Bob Grant (clippie Jack Harper). While the lead character Reg Varney played a character intended to be significantly younger than himself, Lewis was made-up to look much older than his actual age, being only 33 when the programme began. A spin off series, Don't Drink the Water, ran for thirteen episodes from 1974 to 1975. This featured Blakey retiring to Spain with his sister, Dorothy (Pat Coombs). In the 90's Lewis's character Blakey (or a very similar-looking character) appeared regularly on Jim Davidson's version of The Generation Game on BBC1.
He also appeared in two British sex comedies Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1975) and Adventures of a Plumber's Mate (1978), both directed by Stanley Long.
In 1988 he took on one of his longest-running roles, playing the ironically-named 'Smiler' Hemingway in the BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine. The character recurred in occasional episodes for 17 years before ill-health forced Lewis to leave the series in 2007.
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