Click on a name below to take you to that page
Geoffrey Hughes (1944 - 2012)
Geoffrey Hughes was born in Wallasey, Cheshire in 1944, the son of Welshman Bill Hughes, a Liverpool docker, and his Scottish wife, Ada. He has a younger brother Gordon. He went to Ranworth Square Primary School in Liverpool, before moving to the nearby Abbotsford
I met actor Geoffrey Hughes at Collectormania held at the MK Dons football stadium in Milton Keynes in June 2009.
He was very friendly, and Dad and I were able to speak to him for ages about some of the characters he has played, and also about his love of sailing.
Abbotsford Road Secondary Modern School in the Norris Green area of Liverpool, where his English
When he left school he worked for a time as a car salesman, but in his spare time performed with a left-wing, amateur drama group called the Merseyside Unity theatre company, which he had joined when he was thirteen. Hughes got his break when the playwright Alun Owen came to watch him performing in one of his plays, bythe
accompanied by the actor Tom Bell. Hughes
Merseyside Unity Theatre, Liverpool
English teacher encouraged his interest in acting.
Hughes recalls, "That night, Bell cameba
came back and stayed at our house. He told me to pack my bags there and then, go down with him to London, and he’d find mean
The Victoria Theatre, Stoke in 1982
me an agent.” Hughes hesitated, turned professional and joined the repertory company at Stoke-on-Trent's Victoria Theatre.
However, six months later, he tookup
took up Bell's offer and within a year he was starring at the West End's Adelphi Theatre in the Lionel Bart and Alun Owen musical Maggie May, about trade union disputes in Liverpool's dockland. He went on to make regular appearancesin West End productions like Say Goodnight to Grandma at the St Martin's Theatre in 1973;
1973; Run for your Wife at the Criterion Theatre in 1984; The Secret Lifeof
Life of Cartoons at the Aldwych Theatre in 1986 and Noel Cowerd's Semi-Monde at the Royalty Theatre in 1987.
Geoffrey Hughes in The Likely Lads
It is for his television work however that Geoffrey Hughes is most famous. His earliest appearance was in 1965 in the soap
soap that would later make him famous, Coronation Street. He appeared in three episodes as thuggish Eric Fairbrother, who beats up grumpy old Albert Tatlock (Jack Howarth). Soonafter
Soon afterwards came a couple of episodes of The Likely Lads.............
McCartney in Yellow Submarine
With Jerrold Wells in Curry and Chips
With Spike Milligan in Curry and Chips
Geoffrey Hughes voiced Paul
As the Bridge Corporal in Dad's Army
As Piteous in Up Pompeii!
Eddie in Coronation Street in 1974
With Peter Adamson in Coronation Street
It was, however, Geoffrey Hughes' role as binman Eddie Yeats in 53 episodes of Coronation
With Julie Goodyear in Coronation Street
Geoffrey Hughes' first appearance as
Coronation Street, from 1974 until 1983, that stole the viewing public's hearts. Eddie was an ex-criminal who wanted to get back onto the straight and narrow. He appeared
Geoffrey Hughes as Eddie Yeats
appeared in just the one episode in 1974 and 3 episodes in 1975, but by the end of 1976, the soap's producers realised that he could become a major character. He eventually became a lodger with Hilda and Stan Ogden, who treated him like their own son. Eddie had lots of major storylines, and Hughes’ strength was that he portrayed the character as kind-hearted, if a little dim, particularly when it came to HildaOg
Hilda Ogden. Eddie helped out on Stan’s window-cleaning
Eddie Yeats with Hilda & Stan Ogden
window-cleaning round, and the pair often embarked on get-rich-quick schemes, including hiring out a timid guard dog, selling Albert Tatlock's allotment vegetables and brewingt
brewing their own beer in the bath. In 1976 it was Eddie Yeats who was responsible for the famous mural (or 'murial' as Hilda called it) that adorned
adorned the Ogdens’ living room wall. By 1983, Hughes became concerned that he was regarded as Eddie Yeats rather than as an actor who could play other parts. He also felt that his weekly trips to the Granada studios in Manchesterw
in Coronation Street
With Veronica Doran in Coronation Street
Manchester were keeping him away too long from his family and farm in Northants. The producers wrote him out of the script when Eddie married flower shop assistant Marion Willis (played by Veronica Doran) and they moved to Bury. Eddie did return for two more episodes in 1987, to visit Hilda Ogden in hospital.
With Sally Whittaker & Michael LeVell in Coronation Street
Type-casting wasn't a problem for Hughes, and he continued to work regularly throughout the 1980s. He found a variety of roles in different TV series. There was the lead role of prison warder Mr Lithgow in The Bright Side (1985); the Victorian Mr Popplewick in Doctor Who (1986); Fred Kendall in You Rang, M'Lord? (1990); Roy Hartley in Coasting (1990) and Ray in The Upper Hand (1993) to name but a few.
Diane Weston, Geoffrey Hughes & Joe McGann
in The Upper Hand
Ahead of him, Geoffrey Hughes had recurring roles in several high-profile, long-running series which kept him in work permanently. The first of these came in 1990, as Onslow in 44 episodes of Keeping Up Appearances (1990-95). Onslow was the lazy, slobbish brother-in-law of the very posh Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet and played by Patricia Routledge) and proved to be a frequent embarrassment to her.
Hughes' next major series was 88 episodes of the police series Heartbeat, set in Yorkshire. From 2001 until 2007, he played Vernon Scripps, a wheeler-dealer
wheeler-dealer who had a heart of gold, but didn’t always go about things in the right way. Hughes took over from Bill Maynard, who played a very similar character, Claude Greengrass, before him.
With Judy Cornwell in Keeping Up Appearances
Geoffrey Hughes as Vernon Scripps in
David Lonsdale & Geoffrey Hughes in Heartbeat
Geoffrey Hughes made eight appearances over a ten-year period from 1998 until 2008 in the Liverpool comedy series The Royle Family. He played scrounger
The Royle Family - decorating scene
played the oddly lovable scrounger Twiggy, and although he was not a main character, he still
still provided much humour whenever he appeared. Who can forget his famous wallpaper stripping scene with Ricky Tomlinson, to the accompaniment of Mambo No.5?
Geoffrey Hughes & Ricky Tomlinson in The Royle Family
Though best known for “cuddly rogue” roles, Hughes was capable of tackling more testing
testing dramatic roles. He played Trinculo in a televised version of The Tempest for the BBC in 1992, and the uncouth Squire Clodpoll in the Channel 4 avant garde opera Good Friday 1663 (1995). In 2007 he led the cast as the Angel Gabriel in the BBC’s Liverpool Nativity, directing events as they unfolded live in the city centre.
Ricky Tomlinson & Geoffrey Hughes in the decorating
scene from The Royle Family
Hughes as Gabriel in Liverpool Nativity
Hughes' big-screen film credits have included Till Death
Death Us Do Part (1969); Carry On at Your Convenience (1971); the BAFTA nominated comedy based on Spike Milligan's war memoirs Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall (1974) and Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976).
As Willie in Carry On at Your Convenience
Geoffrey Hughes as The Postman in
Confessions of a Driving Instructor
Hughes as Mike's brother in Till Death Us do Part
TV work has sometimes limited his opportunities for stage appearances, which included the occasional pantomime. He enjoyed
Sandi Ning & Geoffrey Hughes in Aladdin
As Frank in Absolutely Frank
enjoyed live theatre though, his last stage role being Frank in Tim Firth's Absolutely Frank at Oldham's Coliseum Theatre.
Away from acting, Geoffrey Hughes lived on a 240-acre farm, part of Lord Lilford's estate in the Nene Valley, Northants. He kept a flock of sheep and renovated many of the old buildings, turning one of them into a craft centre which was runby
run by his wife, Sue. A keen yachtsman, he became
became a popular figure at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, to where he moved permanently in 2003. He and his wife ran a forestry business
business, Wood End Enterprises, which provided wood-fuelled eco-heating for the island's
Meeting Prince Charles in 1999
Island's prison. He supported many charities, including the Red Squirrel Trust (of which he was patron), the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, Cowes Inshore Lifeboat, the RNLI and St Mary’s Hospital.
Geoffrey Hughes with his wife, Sue
In 1996, Geoffrey Hughes was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After major surgery, he appeared to make a full recovery, even touring Australia with Alan Ayckbourn's play Bedroom
Geoffrey Hughes in Expresso
subsequently worked on two short comedy films in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support - Expresso (2007) with Sir Norman Wisdom, and Waiting in Rhyme (2009). After playing drug-dealing Uncle Keith in two episodes ofthe
Bedroom Farce within six weeks of the operation! He subsequently
of the sexy, teenage TV comedy series Skins in 2009, he retired altogether from acting.
Geoffrey Hughes as Uncle Keith in Skins
In 2009 he was appointed Deputy Lord Lieutenant for the Isle of Wight, making him the official link between the Island and royalty at formal occasions.
In August 2010, however, he learned that the cancer had returned. He passed away on the Isle of Wight on 27th July 2012.
Photo of Geoffrey Hughes as Mr Popplewick, with Colin Baker
in Doctor Who. Both have signed it for me.
Geoffrey Hughes was very fond of English 'Folk Rock' music, and on a number of occasions was the compere at the Fairport Copredy Convention, held annually at Copredy in Oxfordshire.
He also supported the Dartington Morris Men (the oldest established team in Devon). He was made an 'Honorary Squire' and attended some of their events.
Hughes at the Fairport Copredy Convention
Honorary Squire of the Dartington
Geoffrey Hughes signs an autograph at the
Fairport Copredy Convention
Lads in 1966, and he later had a recurring role in Johnny SPEIGHT
Speight's controversial sitcom Curry and Chips (1969). This production, which starred Eric Sykes and Spike Milligan, was axed after just six episodes. A big break came when he did thevoice
the voice of Paul McCartney in the Beatles' cartoon film Yellow Submarine (1968). Geoffrey Hughes would frequently appear in one-off supporting roles, in many of thepo
the popular television shows of the time. These included Harper in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1970); Piteous in Up P
Up Pompeii! (1970) and a corporal in Dad's Army (1972).