The Likely Lads star James Bolam has denied a feud existed with his co-star Rodney Bewes, who has died at the age of 79.
Bolam played lovable sponger Terry Collier opposite Bewes’s Bob Ferris in the 1960s BBC sitcom and its 1970s colour sequel, Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?, but the pair did not speak for decades afterwards.
This was down to busy schedules rather than any resentment, Bolam said in an interview following Bewes’s death on Tuesday, six days before his 80th birthday.
On Wednesday, Bewes’s four children said they were touched by “all the warm messages people have left” following his death.
“It is a sad time for us all but we will always remember Dad as full of laughter and fun,” they said in a statement to the Press Association.
“He will be much missed by his many friends in London, Henley, Edinburgh and Cornwall.”
Bolam told BBC Radio Sussex: “There was no fall-out at all, as far as I was concerned.
“We worked together very happily and very well, enjoyed each other’s company and when we finished, we finished.
“This is what happens in acting. You work with people, you get to know them, you like them, we have a great time and the job finishes and you go off and it all starts again with other people and you can’t keep contact with everybody that you know.
“I think that Rodney wanted to do some more Likely Lads and I never did, I felt that what we had done was to me so perfect and so right that to try and bring it back…
“After we finished it the writers went on to do Porridge and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and then they went off to America and the success of that series lay in the strength of those scripts.
“There was some suggestion that we had other writers come in and I just thought, ‘well, I don’t think it will work’ and so I didn’t want to do it, I was busy doing other things.”
Bolam said he had nothing but fond memories of Bewes, adding: “I just remember him with great warmth and with great happiness and the time we had when we actually did the shows, that’s the greatest memory of all.”
In a separate statement to the Press Association, Bolam said: “I am very sad to hear about Rodney’s passing and my thoughts are with his family.
“What I will always remember is all the happy times we had making the show.”
Tributes came in from stars including Ant and Dec, who worked with Bewes during a remake of The Likely Lads in the Noughties.
The duo wrote on Twitter: “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.”
His agent Michelle Braidman described him as a “true one-off”.