Ant and Dec lead tributes to The Likely Lads star Rodney Bewes

Ant and Dec have led tributes to The Likely Lads star Rodney Bewes who has died aged 79, days before his birthday.

Rodney Bewes, best known for his role in The Likely Lads, who has died aged 79, his agent confirmed. Picture by PA
Rodney Bewes, best known for his role in The Likely Lads, who has died aged 79, his agent confirmed. Picture by PA

The actor - best known for his role as Bob Ferris in the 60s BBC sitcom and its 70s sequel, Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? - died on Tuesday morning, with the sad news breaking late last night.

His agent Michelle Braidman described him as a "true one-off", while tributes came in from stars including Ant and Dec who worked with Bewes during a remake of The Likely Lads in the Noughties.

Picture by PA

"We are very sad to hear of the passing of Rodney Bewes, a fine comic actor who we had the honour of meeting and working with. He will live on through Bob Ferris and the brilliant Likely Lads. RIP," the duo wrote on Twitter.

Allo' Allo' star Vicki Michelle, who worked with Bewes on The Likely Lads, said she had "fond memories" of working alongside him.

She added: "Sad to hear about Rodney Bewes, great actor and a lovely man. Saw him not so very long ago."

Sherlock star Mark Gatiss wrote: "So long, kidda. RIP Rodney Bewes," alongside a clip of the actor in action.

Picture by PA

In later life Bewes lived in Henley-on-Thames and Olympic champion rower Matthew Pinsent shared a memory of the star from the town.

He wrote on Twitter: "RIP Rodney Bewes. Rowers will remember him sitting on the booms at Henley in his @LondonRC cap/blazer, clapping every crew past. Every one, every day."

His beloved Chelsea FC also paid tribute, writing on Twitter: "Everybody at Chelsea FC has been saddened to learn of the death of Rodney Bewes, a much-loved actor, fan of the Blues and regular Stamford Bridge visitor."

The BBC's controller of comedy, Shane Allen, labelled Bewes "one half of the great British sitcom partnerships of all time".

He added: "Audiences got to see him go from black and white to colour as the revival was a huge hit with audiences of all ages.

"It's one of the all-time great BBC sitcoms; timeless in its humour and will be enjoyed for decades to come. He was a much loved man and our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this sad time."

Comedian Jack Dee also paid tribute, writing on Twitter: "RIP Rodney Bewes. Likely Lads one of THE great sitcoms."

Fellow comic Mitch Benn posted: "Rodney Bewes is gone and I can't stand the confusion in my mind. RIP."

Actress Annabel Giles starred alongside Bewes in a pantomime and remembered him as "brilliant, naughty and very funny".

She added: "(He) adored his children and the sainted Daphne. His stories were wonderful. He was a bad but adorable influence on all who knew him, and I'm so sorry he's gone."

Writer and Radio DJ Danny Baker wrote: "Rodney Bewes has died. What a dreadful bit of news. See ya, kidda."

Announcing his death - less than a week before he would have turned 80 on November 27 - Ms Braidman said: "It is with great sadness that we confirm that our dear client, the much loved actor Rodney Bewes, passed away this morning.

"We will miss his charm and ready wit."

As Bob, he would often ponder the merits of beer and birds opposite James Bolam who played lovable sponger Terry Collier in the sitcom and its sequel which drew audiences of up to 27 million.

But off-screen the pair endured a stormy relationship with them eventually not speaking for decades.