OBITUARY ERIC SYKES R I P 1923 – 2012
Another of my all time heroes has left us, sadly. Eric Sykes is a true British comedy giant. Though he worked in radio, TV and film, and stand up, it is perhaps his long running TV series, simply called Sykes, (originally Sykes And A …. ) that is going to be most fondly remembered. Co-starring Carry On queen Hattie Jaques as his long sufering sister, Richard Wattis and later, Derek Guyler,
Sykes provided many classic sit-comedy episodes. One in which Sykes got his toe stuck in a bathtub faucet-tap deserves to be right up there beside Tony Hancock’s Blood Donor sketch.
Sykes worked with The Goons, the afore-mentioned Hancock, Tommy Cooper and many others.
His movies included Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines and he was a rather sinister assassin in the film, The Liquidator. This was to influence Patrick McNee’s John Steed character in The Avengers TV series.
Sykes made the 1967 silent comedy classic, The Plank, with a stellar cast of British actors. It is a movie worthy of Laurel And Hardy.
Some of his appearances really take the audiences by surprise. A largely forgotten Western featuring Sean Connery and Bridget Bardot also makes room for Sykes. Later, he starred as a creepy but funny gardener in the Nicole Kidman haunted house movie, The Others. I9t was not his first venture into horror. He was also in Theatre Of Blood as a hapless policeman chasing a deranged Vincent Price.
In the 1970’s he made a not quite silent movie called Rhubarb! The word Rhubarb is the only one uttered, repeatedly through the movie.
Sykes narrated the toddler’s TV show, Telletubbies. He even made it into the fifth Harry Potter movie, Goblet Of Fire. Sykes went from starring in his own shows to making cameos in many other shows – he was the Where’s Wally of the comedy scene and always delightful to see, even in films that were less than great.