If I Don't Write it, Nobody Else Will

If I Don't Write it, Nobody Else Will

Eric Sykes:

On 4 May 1923 I was born, but in giving me life my mother sacrificed her own.

That is one hell of an opening sentence for any autobiography.

I’m just about old enough to remember Eric and Hattie Jacques living as brother and sister in the sitcom Sykes and A…. Of course I remember The Plank with Tommy Cooper but Eric just hasn’t been a huge star on either the small or big screen. There is a good reason for this, he’s spent most of his career writing for others. Starting with Frankie Howerd and later writing Goon Shows during the time when Spike just couldn’t cope with the workload.

It’s surprising that Eric has never had a time when work has dried up. Possibly because he isn’t just and actor or just a writer. This is something that Eric attributes to his dear mother Harriet watching over him. Whenever it seems that Eric is going to be out of work for a while another opportunity falls in his lap. This is possibly why someone who is well into his eighties is still working today.

The role that I most associate him with, only because I own the both series and watch them every Christmas, is as Stan’s father in dinnerladies. In that role he is just perfect. But he’s been in The Bill, Harry Potter and recently Last of the Summer Wine.

Eric Sykes is someone whose work and gentle humour I will always admire.

  • Reviewed on Sunday, 05 August 2007
  • Tagged with book review