YORKSHIRE ACTOR Gorden Kaye, who was best known for his role in the long-running BBC sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo!, has died aged 75.
He played the cafe owner Rene Artois on the hugely popular show set in occupied France during World War II. It ran from 1982-91, and Kaye was in all 84 episodes, and a stage version.
He won the role when, having appeared in another of producer David Croft’s comedies, Are You Being Served, Croft offered him the lead in yet another show, Oh Happy Band, as the conductor of a brass ensemble in a fictional northern town. But Kaye was unavailable and the part went instead to the Barnsley comic, Harry Worth. It lasted only a single series, by which time Kaye’s diary was free enough for him to accept the part that made him famous.
His earlier roles had included a recurring part in Coronation Street, as Elsie Tanner’s nephew.
In a 1989 autobiography, he said his formative years in the West Riding had been characterised by being shy, gay and overweight. He also revealed that the unusual spelling of his first name was the result of a typing error by someone at the actors’ union, Equity.
In 1990, he suffered serious head injuries when an advertising hoarding crashed through his car windscreen during a storm.
The BBC paid tribute to a “terrific comic actor” who had “earned a place in comedy’s hall of fame”.