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27 November 2014

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Hattie Jacques and Eric Sykes in Sykes

As a writer Eric Sykes could claim a part in such favourites as Educating Archie and The Goon Show, as well as penning many of the sketches that launched Frankie Howerd on an unsuspecting nation.

But it is undoubtedly for the TV series that bore his surname that he will best be remembered.

Sykes centred around the inhabitants of number 28 Sebastopol Terrace, East Acton, the jobless, childish and accident-prone Eric (Eric Sykes himself) and his - very different looking - identical twin Hat, played with a winning combination of motherliness, sisterly devotion and wide-eyed naivety by Hattie Jacques. 

Each week Eric became involved in some new scrape, be it causing disaster while refereeing the local football team, searching for Hat's lost kitten on the roof of cat-hating Major Crombie-Crombie or being held hostage by a hardened ex-con (Peter Sellers having a whale of a time) who just happened to be Hattie's school sweetheart. 

The disastrous schemes that constantly sprang into Eric's childish mind frequently ended up involving the show's two other regular characters, snobbish next-door-neighbour Mr Brown and genial Wilfred "Corky" Turnbull, the local PC Plod, played by Deryck Guyler (who every child of the time knew as the man who sometimes turned up on Play School and Blue Peter to play washboard).

Sykes was a piece of comic innocence, located in a sort of permanent 1950s, Ealing Studios world, with only the occasional contemporary reference to give away its 1970s setting.

Running from 1972 to 78, Sykes was, in fact, essentially a continuation of early 1960s series Sykes and A..., written by Sykes and Johnny Speight and featuring the same setting, characters, cast and, occasionally, extremely similar scripts.

Sykes ran until 1979, sadly brought to an enforced end by the death of Hattie Jacques in 1980.


Eric Sykes
Eric Sykes
Hattie Jacques
Hattie Sykes
Deryck Guyler
PC Wilfred 'Corky' Turnbull
Richard Wattis
Charles Brown
Joy Harington
Melanie Rumbelow
Joan Sims
Madge Kettlewell


Eric Sykes
Roger Race
Roger Race
Dennis Wilson
executive producer

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