Where are the stars of ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’ now?

Tributes have poured in following the news Windsor Davies – star of It Ain’t Half Hot Mum – passed away last week aged 88.

The London-born Welsh actor played Sergeant Major Williams in the 1970’s hit sitcom along with beloved co-stars Don Estelle and Melvyn Hayes. 

Forty-five years on, catchphrases including ‘Shuutt up!!’ and ‘Oh dear. How sad’ are forever etched in the memories of fans of ‘the BBC‘s most non-PC comedy’. 

It was first broadcast in BBC One in 1974 and ran over 56 episodes before ending in 1981. But what did some of its brightest stars go on to do and where are they now?

Where are they now? Tributes have poured in following the news Windsor Davies (third left) passed away. His co-stars include Melvyn Hayes (far left) and Michael Bates (front centre). The show was first broadcast in BBC One in 1974 and ran over 56 episodes before ending in 1981

Where are they now? Tributes have poured in following the news Windsor Davies (third left) passed away. His co-stars include Melvyn Hayes (far left) and Michael Bates (front centre). The show was first broadcast in BBC One in 1974 and ran over 56 episodes before ending in 1981

Where are they now? Tributes have poured in following the news Windsor Davies (third left) passed away. His co-stars include Melvyn Hayes (far left) and Michael Bates (front centre). The show was first broadcast in BBC One in 1974 and ran over 56 episodes before ending in 1981

Davies (centre) is pictured on set with co-stars Don Estelle (fourth right), Mervyn Hayes (second right) and George Layton (fifth right). The show was first aired on BBC One in 1974

Davies (centre) is pictured on set with co-stars Don Estelle (fourth right), Mervyn Hayes (second right) and George Layton (fifth right). The show was first aired on BBC One in 1974

Davies (centre) is pictured on set with co-stars Don Estelle (fourth right), Mervyn Hayes (second right) and George Layton (fifth right). The show was first aired on BBC One in 1974

But as Davies’ surviving co-stars praised his generosity and professionalism, the BBC last night said there were ‘currently no plans’ to repeat any episodes as a tribute to Davies.

Due to complaints that the sitcom is racist, sexist and homophobic, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum is never repeated, a decision has that troubled co-creator Jimmy Perry – who also co-wrote Dad’s Army – who described the ban as ‘a shame’.

Comedy writer David Quantick said viewers had warmed to Sergeant Major Williams because memories of shouting Army officers were still fresh for those who had served in the Second World War and completed National Service.

‘Even in the 1970s I think that he was an outrageous and extreme character,’ he said. ‘The character was very loose with his terminology but that’s how sergeant majors talked.

‘They were bullies who wanted to strip you down. I think even at the time there was an element of, “Oh my God, you can’t say that.”‘

Windsor Davies

Windsor Davies, who passed away last week, on the set of It Ain't Half Hot Mum

Windsor Davies, who passed away last week, on the set of It Ain't Half Hot Mum

Davies, pictured in 1994, has passed away at the age of 1994

Davies, pictured in 1994, has passed away at the age of 1994

Windsor Davies, who passed away last week, on the set of It Ain’t Half Hot Mum in the early 1980s (left) and in 1994 (right). Tributes to the late London-born actor have poured in

Davies played Battery Sergeant-Major ‘Shut Up’ Williams from 1974 to 1981, and in 1975 had a number one hit with the novelty track Whispering Grass with his sitcom co-star Estelle, which was one of the biggest selling duets of all time on the UK charts. 

Born in 1930 to Welsh parents in Canning Town, east London, he moved to his father’s village in Ogmore Valley, Wales, at the outbreak of the Second World War. 

He also appeared in the TV series Ring Out An Alibi, The New Statesman, Terrahawks and Never The Twain, as well as the films Carry On England and Carry On Behind. 

Windsor Davies (pictured on set in 1976) played Sergeant Major Williams in It Ain't Half Hot Mum, and died last week at the age of 88. The London-born Welsh actor went on to have a number one hit with the novelty track Whispering Grass with his sitcom co-star Don Estelle

Windsor Davies (pictured on set in 1976) played Sergeant Major Williams in It Ain't Half Hot Mum, and died last week at the age of 88. The London-born Welsh actor went on to have a number one hit with the novelty track Whispering Grass with his sitcom co-star Don Estelle

Windsor Davies (pictured on set in 1976) played Sergeant Major Williams in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, and died last week at the age of 88. The London-born Welsh actor went on to have a number one hit with the novelty track Whispering Grass with his sitcom co-star Don Estelle

Davies went on to star opposite Donald Sinden as Oliver Smallbridge in the long-running ITV sitcom Never The Twain about rival antiques dealers during the 1980s.

His most recent credited appearance was in an episode of My Family in 2004. 

The TV legend died on Thursday at home in France, according to his family.

Melvyn Hayes, who played Gunner ‘Gloria’ Beaumont, said: this weekend ‘To work with him was a pleasure, a sheer delight because he was so generous in his work. 

Melvyn Hayes 

Melvyn Hayes in character on the set of 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum'

Melvyn Hayes in character on the set of 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum'

Melvyn Hayes in 2005

Melvyn Hayes in 2005

Melvyn Hayes in character on the set of ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’, where he played Bombardier ‘Gloria’ Beaumont (left) and pictured in 2005 (right). He went on to star on TV and in pantomimes, as well as taking on more than 50 foster children with third wife Jayne

Hayes played Bombardier ‘Gloria’ Beaumont in the show and continued to work with co-star Davies in subsequent years. 

Projects included a 15-week panto season at the London Palladium in 1981 with Jim Davidson, Mollie Sugden, Lionel Blair and Clive Dunn. 

He met wife Jayne in 1986 when they worked on a touring production of The Dresser, and the couple went on to have a daughter, Lily. 

The actor also has daughters Sacha and Talla and a son Damian by his first wife Rosalind, and daughters Jo and Charlie by his second wife Wendy. 

He and Jayne have legal guardianship of three foster children, Josh, Jordan and Toni. 

He went on to appear on This Is Your Life – in an episode that drew in some 18 million viewers – and was a guest on 12 further occasions, including the 500th and 1,000th editions. 

In 2011, Hayes and Jayne relocated to the Isle of Wight as they felt it would be a ‘safer’ place for the children we foster – over 50 to date.

Hayes this weekend led tributes to his comedy legend co-star Davies, saying: ‘To work with him was a pleasure, a sheer delight… he was a lovely, lovely man.’

George Layton

George Layton played character Bombardier 'Solly' Solomons

George Layton played character Bombardier 'Solly' Solomons

George Layton in May 2008  - he played character Bombardier 'Solly' Solomons in the first two series of It Ain't Half Hot Mum

George Layton in May 2008  - he played character Bombardier 'Solly' Solomons in the first two series of It Ain't Half Hot Mum

British actor George Layton played character Bombardier ‘Solly’ Solomons in the first two series of hit sitcom It Ain’t Half Hot Mum (left) and pictured in May 2008  (right)

After bursting onto screens as Bombardier ‘Solly’ Solomons in the first two series of the show, Layton went on to play a recurring character in ITV drama Minder in the 1980s. 

He also did voice work  – playing various voices as part of kids cartoon show Pigeon Street. Layton was also also the voice of Sydney, the well know animated character in the Tetley Tea adverts. 

In 1999 he joined the cast of Sunburn, playing a manager in Cyprus, while he also made guest appearances in  Doctors, Holby City and Casualty. 

Layton went on to star as Pat Butcher’s love interest in EastEnders. In a 2015 interview, he told the Express: ‘I still get recognised from It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and it was fantastic but I only did two series. 

‘I never felt my role, Bombardier “Solly” Solomons, developed properly. I spoke to the co-writer, David Croft, and he said, “If you’re not happy, you can leave,” so I did. 

‘With my Doctor In The House co-star Jonathan Lynn, I wrote for sitcoms including On The Buses and Nearest And Dearest.’

Don Estelle

Don Estelle played Gunner 'Lofty' Sugden in It Ain't Half Hot Mum

Don Estelle played Gunner 'Lofty' Sugden in It Ain't Half Hot Mum

Don Estelle in 1981

Don Estelle in 1981

 Don Estelle, who was often teased for his 4ft 9in height, played Gunner ‘Lofty’ Sugden in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum (left); and pictured in 1981 (right). He died in 2003 aged 70

The late 4ft 9in star played Gunner ‘Lofty’ Sugden in the 70s sitcom and also had a number-one hit with Whispering Grass, dueting with fellow actor Windsor Davies.

Estelle was born in Manchester, and spent his early years there until the Second World War, when he was evacuated to Darwen, near Blackburn, Lancashire.

He became a boy soprano at the Holy Trinity Church there, known today as St Peter’s, Darwen.

His first stage experience was with a local charity group, the Manchester Kentucky Minstrels.

This led to a solo career in the north of England Club circuit – renowned as a tough circuit for any aspiring artiste – during which time he met Davies.

His big break came when he appeared in another BBC classic, Dad’s Army, playing a Pickford’s removal man delivering a naval gun to the platoon,

Estelle starred in the hit TV show along with Mervyn Hayes, left, and Windsor Davies, centre. Forty-five years on, fans still remember catchphrases including 'Shuutt up!!

Estelle starred in the hit TV show along with Mervyn Hayes, left, and Windsor Davies, centre. Forty-five years on, fans still remember catchphrases including 'Shuutt up!!

Estelle starred in the hit TV show along with Mervyn Hayes, left, and Windsor Davies, centre. Forty-five years on, fans still remember catchphrases including ‘Shuutt up!!

It Ain’t Half Hot Mum ran for eight years and brought the release of a cast album of the show.

The ensuing single, Whispering Grass, sold well over one million copies; a follow-up album by the duo, Sing Lofty, sold more than 80,000 copies.

Estelle performed regularly around the world, from the UK to New Zealand, Australia and beyond.

In 1999 he wrote his autobiography, Thoughts of a Gemini. He also reworked the classic Laurel and Hardy movie song Trail of the Lonesome Pine featuring politician Sir Cyril Smith.

TV audiences also saw the actor play a cameo role in the award winning series, The League of Gentlemen.

Estelle passed away on in August 2003 aged 70, with his family at his bedside in Rochdale Infirmary following a period of illness.

His widow said: ‘He had a lovely singing voice, He regretted it was not more well known. He loved singing more than anything but he loved comedy as well.

‘He lived absolutely for his showbiz career. He loved his music more than anything.’ 

Michael Bates

Michael Bates as Rangi Ram

Michael Bates as Rangi Ram

Bates as Cyril Blamire in Last of the Summer Wine, a role her played until 1975 - three years before his untimely death

Bates as Cyril Blamire in Last of the Summer Wine, a role her played until 1975 - three years before his untimely death

Michael Bates as Rangi Ram (left) and in the BBC’s The Escape Club (right). Bates was born to British parents in India, the son of an Empire civil servant, before landing the role

Rangi Ram, centre, was played by white actor Michael Bates which has led to accusations of racism and 'blackface'. His life was cut tragically short when he died of cancer in 1978 aged 57

Rangi Ram, centre, was played by white actor Michael Bates which has led to accusations of racism and 'blackface'. His life was cut tragically short when he died of cancer in 1978 aged 57

Rangi Ram, centre, was played by white actor Michael Bates which has led to accusations of racism and ‘blackface’. His life was cut tragically short when he died of cancer in 1978 aged 57

The show courted controversy in its heyday – and in subsequent years – for having Rangi Ram, an Indian character, played by a white actor, Michael Bates. 

According to co-writer Jimmy Perry, Bates was born to British parents in India, the son of an Empire civil servant. 

The Clockwork Orange star spoke Urdu and Hindi fluently, and would often speak to Perry in the ‘pidgin Urdu’ that they had picked up during their time in the Forces.

Perry said: ‘Like most children of Empire, he’d had an Indian nurse, an ‘ayah’, who taught him the best of her own culture. 

‘He never lost the ability to squat on his haunches — a great relaxation trick.’ 

Despite being best known for his starring role in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, Bates also continued to play Cyril Blamire in Last of the Summer Wine until 1975.

His life was cut tragically short when he died of cancer in 1978, aged 57. 

The deep-voiced man with the moustache who made Britons roll with laughter as Sergeant-Major after a decade battling for his big break 

Windsor Davies’s portrayal of the fierce, deep-voiced, moustached Sergeant-Major in sitcom It Ain’t Half Hot Mum made him a household name in the 1970s.

The actor and singer, who also gained chart-topping success with a novelty duet, died peacefully on Thursday aged 88, his daughter Jane said.

Born in 1930 to Welsh parents in Canning Town, east London, he moved to his father’s village in Ogmore Valley, Wales, at the outbreak of the Second World War.

October 1976: TV legend died on Thursday at home in France, according to his family

October 1976: TV legend died on Thursday at home in France, according to his family

October 1976: TV legend died on Thursday at home in France, according to his family

Davies worked as an electrical engineer in the mines, completed National Service in Libya and Egypt, and then trained as a teacher before taking up amateur dramatics in adulthood, according to the British Film Institute.

He spent around a decade trying to make it as an actor before his big break.

Supported by his wife Eluned, Davies played a number of supporting roles in dramas before being cast in BBC show It Ain’t Half Hot Mum (1974-81).

He played Battery Sergeant-Major ‘Shut Up’ Williams, a ferocious disciplinarian determined to impose his authority upon the “bunch of poofs” in the Royal Artillery Concert Party.

The comedy star, whose catchphrases included the mocking ‘Oh dear, how sad, never mind’, once said the show was ‘my saviour’ and ‘saved me from being a great actor’.

1976: Davies played Sergeant Major Williams in the popular comedy show, Carry On

1976: Davies played Sergeant Major Williams in the popular comedy show, Carry On

1976: Davies played Sergeant Major Williams in the popular comedy show, Carry On

Away from TV, Davies had a number one single in 1975 with the novelty hit Whispering Grass along with co-star Don Estelle.

The track, which sold well over a million copies, was announced as the sixth-biggest selling duet of all time in 2011 by the Official Chart Company.

Davies struck up a successful partnership with the diminutive 4 ft 9 ins Estelle, who played Lofty in the 70s sitcom, after they met on the north of England club circuit.

A follow-up album by the duo, Sing Lofty, sold more than 80,000 copies.

It Ain’t Half Hot Mum ran for seven years and brought the release of a cast album of the show.

Davies’s credits also include Doctor Who, the TV series Ring Out An Alibi, The New Statesman, Terrahawks and Never The Twain, as well as the films Carry On England and Carry On Behind.

His most recent credited appearance was in an episode of My Family in 2004.

Eluned, his wife of 62 years, died in September and they leave behind ‘a large and very close family who will all remember them with love, laughter and gratitude’, a family statement said.

The couple are widely reported to have had five children, including the casting director Jane Davies.

https://textbacklinkexchanges.com/category/the-sun-world/

(Visited 50 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply