'Real' Common As Muck binman dies

Malc Greaves and Edward Woodward Image copyright Patrick Dunleavy / BBC
Image caption Malcolm Greaves (left) inspired two characters in Common As Muck, including Nev, played by Edward Woodward

Writer William 'Billy' Ivory has paid tribute to a binman who inspired his breakthrough TV comedy drama Common As Muck.

Malcolm Greaves, who has died aged 75, worked with Ivory when they were both binmen in Nottinghamshire.

Mr Greaves inspired two characters in the programme, who were played by actors Edward Woodward and Tim Healy.

Mr Ivory said in tribute: "Malcolm was a lovely, funny, kind man and was a big part of my growing up."

Image copyright Patrick Dunleavy
Image caption Malcolm Greaves, from Southwell in Nottinghamshire, worked as a binman with his son Paul Greaves
Image caption Paul Greaves and his father inspired the father-and-son binmen team Jono and Foxy, played by Stephen Lord and Tim Healy

Mr Greaves worked on the bins for many years with his son Paul, and the pair inspired a father-and-son binmen team in the programme.

"Dad enjoyed watching the series," said Mr Greaves. "He was very pleased with it all because he could really relate to all the characters. He recognised a lot of the traits of people he'd worked with at the depots in Newark and Southwell.

"My dad thought the world of Bill Ivory anyway, and Billy always liked to get back on the bins when he was back home from university in the holidays. He liked to meet up with all the old friends and faces."

Tribute from William Ivory

"It's a sad day as Malc was a lovely, larger than life, blur of a man and we had many happy, raucous, days on the bins together.

"I'm fairly certain it was he who chucked a dead crow at me on Fisko tip because I'd been disrespectful towards the Royal Family.

"It hit me, broke up (maggots and all) and led to a tremendous stench in the cab.

"This we remedied with an old can of Impulse disgorged into the wagon just after the rancid crow! The smell was even worse! We drove all day, windows down, choking.

"But he was careful to look after me too and make sure I learned the ropes.

"Sadly missed."

Image caption There were two series of Common As Muck, broadcast in 1994 and 1997
Image caption Writer William Ivory, whose credits include Made in Dagenham and Truckers, worked as a binman in Nottinghamshire in his student days

Malcolm, known as "Malc", worked as a driver on the bin lorries for 28 years, originally for Southwell Rural District Council, which was succeeded by Newark and Sherwood District Council.

"Edward Woodward played the serious side to my dad but dad was also very happy and jovial," said Paul.

"He was full of one-liners and would have people in stitches, but he was never crude. Everybody felt better for being in his company, whether they were 18 or 80."

Image caption Malcolm 'Malc' Greaves inspired the characters Foxy, played by Tim Healy, and Nev, played by Edward Woodward

Malcolm was diabetic and died in hospital on 31 July after complications from an operation to remove his leg.

His funeral takes place at 16:00 BST at the Sherwood Forest Crematorium in Ollerton.

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