List of Last of the Summer Wine characters

List of Last of the Summer Wine characters
A collage illustrating the different compositions of the main characters during Last of the Summer Wine's 37 year run. From left to right: Series 1–2, Series 3–8 & 12–18, Series 9–11, Series 19–21, Series 21, Series 22–24, Series 25–27, Series 28–29, Series 30–31.

The following is a list of characters in the BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine. The series focuses primarily on a trio of old men and their interaction with other characters in town. Due to the longevity of the series it has often been necessary to replace key characters due to an actor's death, illness, or unavailability for other reasons. Many characters were first seen in "one-off" appearances and were popular enough or felt to have enough potential for them to be brought back as regulars, in some instances replacing previous members of the cast.


Principal cast durations

Character Series
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Compo Bill Owen  
Clegg Peter Sallis
Blamire M. Bates  
Foggy   Brian Wilde   Brian Wilde  
Seymour   M. Aldridge  
Truly   Frank Thornton
Billy   Keith Clifford  
Entwistle   Burt Kwouk
Alvin   Brian Murphy
Hobbo   R. Abbot
Nora Kathy Staff   Kathy Staff  
Ivy Jane Freeman

The "Summer Wine" Trio

"The joy of Bill Owen's Compo is not what he does with the words but where he takes the character beyond what's in the script. He did this in a physical manner. It was only when I saw Bill on screen that I realized what a wonderful physical clown he was."

Roy Clarke on Bill Owen and Compo[1]

William 'Compo' Simmonite (Bill Owen)

(1973-2000) - Dressed in scruffy trousers and Wellington boots, Compo rarely (if ever) worked for a living, preferring the lazy life. The name probably derived from the term 'compo' a shortened version of the word 'compensation',[2] sometimes used to refer to people living off compensation from an on-the-job injury. A great physical comedian, Compo was often the butt of jokes arising from the many dirty jobs, stunts and escapades that were a central feature of the series. Another recurring theme was Compo's affection for his next-door neighbour, Nora Batty, of whose 'wrinkled stockings' he would frequently despair.

Compo leads a seemingly idyllic lifestyle, chatting and bickering with others, betting on horses, and playing with his ferrets. In fact, Compo was written as a fragile underdog, with a childlike addiction to fun and the joys of living. He thrives on the authority and argument he gets from the third member of the trio, as is evident from the regret he expresses in his moping around the café after the departure of Blamire in the third series episode, "The Man from Oswestry."[3]

Compo was written out of the series in 2000 following the death of Owen a year earlier. Although Compo was already seriously ill, according to Truly and Clegg, it was the sight of Nora Batty in chorus girl clothes that finished him off, but he died with a smile on his face (as claimed by Truly, Clegg and Nora).[4]

Compo was referred to as 'Uncle Bill' by his nephew Gordon Simmonite in episodes in 1976.

Norman Clegg (Peter Sallis)

(1973-2010) Pessimistic, with a wry sense of humour. Clegg aims for a quiet respectable retirement following his redundancy from his job as a lino salesman,[5] but is continually involved in the schemes of Foggy and the others. Despite having been married for 31 years- he is now a widower; his wife Edith was deceased when the series began-[5] Clegg fearfully shies away from women. Perfectly content reading alone in his cosy home, he also finds fascination in some of the simpler things in life, such as Sid's skirting board. He is also so reserved and shy that he famously wears several layers of clothing: vest/long johns, shirt, jumper/sweater, waistcoat/suit vest, jacket/sport coat, and finally a plastic mac, which he just carries when it's not windy or raining. He is also the only one of the trio that has a driving licence[6] and therefore occasionally finds himself reluctantly pressured into driving on the very rare occasions that they are not merely strolling about locally and manage to avail themselves of a vehicle sans driver. This invariably results in a panic attack for Clegg who fumbles about with the gears and pedals uncontrollably limiting his speed to about 3mph (which is just to his liking).

Clegg was the sounding-board for Compo's glee and the third man's authority, and was often instrumental in pointing out the pitfalls concealed within the schemes of the third man.[7] Clegg is also well known for his philosophical asides, which have received praise for interjecting intellectual material into the series.[8] In early episodes, Clegg was much more forthright and adventurous. Within a few years he became more retiring and cautious (although was still seen to relish in the odd practical joke or escapade), and the group came to be dominated by Foggy and the "third men" that succeeded him. In the two final series he became a secondary character (due to the fact that Salis, alongside Frank Thornton, were now over 80, leading to complications over insurance when on location filming), so his role was filled by Entwistle. He was also the only character to appear in every single episode of the programme.

Cyril Blamire (Michael Bates)

(1973–1975) The first third man, and the most childishly argumentative, Blamire was the contrast to Compo. Blamire was fired up by displays of youthful enthusiasm, energetic gusto, or any sign of the British spirit.[9] He served as a corporal in the British Army in the Royal Signals regiment during the "The Great Fight for Freedom""[6] as a supply wallah (a storeman) in India and retains his military bearing. He was a Tory and a self-important know-it-all with upper-class aspirations who often dissociated himself from the other two, especially Compo, owing to his perceived superiority to them.[5] Because of his sophisticated interests and insistence on table manners, Compo liked to refer to him as a "poof". In spite of this, Compo and Blamire were close, as illustrated by Compo's misery in the episodes immediately following his departure. "[5] When Bates left the cast as a result of illness in 1975, Blamire was written out of the series; it was said that he had left to get married and the last we hear of him is a very organised letter, instructing Clegg and Compo to meet their old classmate, Foggy Dewhurst.[10]

Walter "Foggy" Dewhurst (Brian Wilde)

(1976–1985, 1990–1997) The successor to Blamire, Foggy was a former soldier who liked to boast of his military exploits in Burma during the Second World War (in fact, he was a sign-writer). Although he considered himself very regimental and heroic, when confronted Foggy was generally meek and incompetent. Like the previous third man- and all subsequent third men- he considered himself the leader of the trio, and frequently took charge of Compo and Clegg. Foggy Dewhurst was infamous for trying to figure out a solution to the trio's everyday problems, only to make them much worse. In earlier years Foggy wore a scarf with regimental colours on it. When Wilde left the series in 1985 to star in his own sitcom, it was explained that Foggy had moved to Bridlington to take over his family's egg-painting business.[11] Returning in 1990 following the impromptu departure of Michael Aldridge, he claimed he had tired of a life of egg painting, and wanted to return to his old life.[12] In 1997, when Wilde's illness prevented him from taking part in the series, he was written out in the Special, "There Goes the Groom", (in which the character was only seen in brief, non-face shots, played by a double; this episode also introduced his successor, Truly). An unconscious, hung-over Foggy was swept off to Blackpool by the local postmistress. There he inadvertently proposed to her in a verbal slip-up over the wedding rings of which he had taken charge "for safe keeping" (out of the dubious care of Best Man, Barry). But he must have at least liked her, as he was never heard from again. [13] Foggy's real first name was revealed to be Walter (with the middle initial "C") [14]; "Foggy" is a nickname, derived from the traditional song "The Foggy Foggy Dew", aided perhaps by the fact that, in his earlier episodes, he would occasionally "blank out" everything around him to help himself to concentrate, particularly when he was thinking up new ideas or finding solutions to problems. This is particularly noticable in the episode "The Man from Oswestry"

Seymour Utterthwaite (Michael Aldridge)

(1986–1990) A snobbish inventor, Edie's brother Seymour felt it was his duty in life to educate the masses, and in particular, Compo and Clegg, to whom he was introduced by his brother-in-law, Wesley Pegden, shortly before the wedding of Wesley's daughter.[11] Whereas Cyril and Foggy tried to solve the problems of the residents of Holmfirth, Seymour liked to invent, but the resulting inventions invariably led to disaster—especially for Compo, who was always the reluctant guinea pig. (Seymour usually blamed the failure of his inventions on divine punishment for his once having had an affair with a barmaid.) Seymour's house, outside the town, was modified into a laboratory, filled with new devices and contraptions that seldom, if ever, worked properly.[11] His sister, Edie, always spoke very highly of him and how he was 'educated', refusing to take into account his continual failed inventions.[11] Seymour had previously been the headmaster of a school, although it is not entirely clear how successful he was in running it.[11] When Aldridge left the series in 1990 to care for his sick wife, Seymour was last seen leaving on a bus to take up a new job as interim headmaster at a private school—just as previous third man Foggy returned.[12]

Herbert Truelove (Truly of the Yard) (Frank Thornton)

(1997–2010) A retired policeman with a pompous self-importance in all things criminal,[15] Truly is more relaxed, fun-loving, and can be more of an equal match at the local pub than his predecessors as third man . He can also be a bit more devious with practical jokes or witty schemes. Likewise, he can be equally sly in getting people out of a scrape or just helping out a friend. He is divorced, and makes disparaging comments about "the former Mrs Truelove" (who evidently feels the same way about him, judging by the reaction of her new husband, who appears in one episode, to Truly).[16] Because of his previous involvement with the police, Truly refers to himself as "Truly of the Yard".[13]. In the two final series he is demoted to a secondary character along with Norman Clegg, so his role as third man was filled by Hobbo.

Billy Hardcastle (Keith Clifford)

(1999, 2000, 2001–2006) Billy Hardcastle was first introduced in the 1999 series as a guest star[17] and also appeared in the 2000 New Year's special[18] and a guest role in the 2000 series.[19] Because of his popularity, he was made a regular character in the 2001 series.[20]

Billy believes he is a direct descendant of Robin Hood. His first appearance on the show showed him attempting to recruit a band of Merry Men to go with him while he robs from the rich to give to the poor.[17] At the end of the 21st series, Billy moves next door to Truly[21] and is teamed as the third member of the trio. When Billy joined with Clegg and Truly, much of the humour Compo previously brought to the series returned in Billy's child-like demeanour, although an element of physical humour was still lacking in the series. Much of his dialogue bemoaned the domestic presence of "the wife" or "the wife's sister". Billy was last seen at the end of the 27th series following the departure of Keith Clifford from the show to pursue other work at the time.

Alvin Smedley (Brian Murphy)

(2003–2010) Alvin Smedley was introduced in the 2003 series as Nora Batty's new next door neighbour following the death of Compo. When Tom's former acquaintance, Mrs. Avery, gives up the lease she owns on Compo's old house, Alvin purchases it.[22] Although he publicly claims to hate Nora Batty, he feels it is his duty to try to bring some joy to her life, often in the form of practical jokes similar to those Compo once played on her. In the 2005 series he joined the main trio thus making them a quartet but after the 2006 series following Billy Hardcastle's departure the quartet once again became a trio although in the 2007 and 2008 series he was mostly teamed up with Entwistle. In the final two series he and Entwistle teamed up with Hobbo, thus making a new trio.

'Electrical' Entwistle (Burt Kwouk)

(2002–2010) Electrician and fortune-teller from the land of eastern wisdom, Hull. His real name is McIntyre but he changed it so people wouldn't mistake him for a Scotsman. When Wesley died, Entwistle took over his job of shuttling the others across the countryside in a battered red Toyota Hilux pick-up truck, and occasionally constructing the various contraptions the main trio produce. He also seems to be taking over a character version of Auntie Wainwright, although he mainly sells second-hand washing machines.

Following the departure of Billy Hardcastle in series 28, Entwistle has often been paired with Alvin, with many stories revolving around their dealings with Howard or Barry. From series 30 to series 31, Entwistle becomes the second man in a new trio when Hobbo arrives and recruits Alvin and Entwistle to form a band of volunteers to respond to emergencies in the village.

Luther 'Hobbo' Hobdyke (Russ Abbot)

(2008–2010) Hobbo is a former milkman with ties to MI5 who was first introduced in the 2008 New Years special, to set up his role in the upcoming 30th series. He is Clegg's new next door neighbour. Upon first arriving in the village, Hobbo recruits Alvin and Entwistle to form a small band of volunteers who will react to any emergency that arises in the village, thus forming a new trio. Hobbo is incredibly cautious, and always on the lookout for enemy attack. He fondly remembers his time spent with MI5, when he used to leap from aeroplanes ("Holding crates of milk?" asks Entwistle) and dive for cover from enemy fire. Clegg and Truly recall that Hobbo was never much of a milkman but was exemplary at needlework.[23] He was also one of the last new characters to be introduced to the series.

Other regular characters

The Battys

Nora Batty (Kathy Staff)

(1973–2001, 2002–2008) Compo's next door neighbour, Nora is proudly devoted to strict housework, and stands as a monument to classic northern women. During her marriage she used to keep her husband, Wally, under her thumb. Despite Nora's gruff manner (and famously wrinkled stockings) Compo is desperately in love with her, with a lust that is used to generate comic situations as he comes up with various plots and schemes to try to impress Nora (a plot device that was used a great many times, particularly from the mid-1980s until Compo's death). Although initially a stern Northern "battleaxe", Nora showed on occasion, particularly as the years passed, that underneath she is actually a rather caring and kind woman—although she doesn't openly promote the fact. She even seemed to grow fond of Compo- in the 1996 Christmas special "Extra! Extra!", she was bowled over at the sight of him in military uniform. She also seemed very flattered when Compo sang about his feelings for her at a concert in the previous year's Christmas special. When Bill Owen died in 1999, Staff initially announced her plans to leave the series, feeling that it would not be the same without him. With the introduction of Compo's son Tom (played by his real life son Tom Owen), however, she was persuaded to stay. Staff actually did leave the series in 2001, to reprise her role as cleaner Doris Luke in the doomed revival of soap Crossroads, with Nora said to be emigrating to Australia. When Crossroads folded, Staff returned, with nothing said about Nora's trip to Australia or her sudden return. She continued to play the character until shortly before her death in 2008. With Staff unable to appear in Series 30 because of ill health, Nora was again said to have left for Australia, this time to care for her elder sister, Madge. Staff also played a very Nora-like character, Mrs. Blewitt, in another of writer Roy Clarke's hits, Open All Hours, from 1976 to 1985.

Wally Batty (Joe Gladwin)

(1975–1987) Nora's perennially shell-shocked husband and Compo's next-door neighbour, Wally Batty was a short quiet man, kept on a short leash by his wife. His relationship with Nora stood in stark contrast to Compo's unrequited lust after her; in fact, he often welcomed the prospect of Compo running off with her. Initially mentioned but not seen, he first appeared on screen in 1975. He was generally seen doing chores or stealing a quick moment away from Nora at the pub. Wally had a passion for racing pigeons and owned a motorbike and sidecar, occasionally taking Nora for a spin around the countryside. With the death of Joe Gladwin in 1987, the character died off screen, but is still occasionally mentioned. (Note: in the pilot episode of the series, which was part of the Comedy Playhouse strand, Nora referred to her unseen husband as Harold, not Wally).

Stella (Barbara Young)

(2008–2010) Stella is Nora's sister, and first appeared in the 2008 New Years Special, I Was A Hitman for Primrose Dairies as a replacement for the actress Kathy Staff, who was unable to continue her role as Nora owing to ill health. With Nora having departed for Australia, Stella moved in to house-sit for her sister, and has become a new member of the elder women's talking circle. She is a former barmaid and appears to take a more free-spirited approach to life than Nora, as evidenced by her brighter wardrobe and hair. The storyline in her first episode saw her trying to give up smoking, and her yearning for a cigarette has continued unabated into subsequent episodes.

The Cafe

Ivy (Jane Freeman)

(1973–2010) joint owner of tea-shop with husband Sid, with whom she would often have blazing rows in the kitchen, until his death. She now runs it solely, and viciously scolds anyone who dares misbehave or criticise the food. Generally the wisest and most level-headed of the show's female social circle, she was also on occasion a target of Compo's (unwanted) affection, who often said that if it wasn't for Nora Batty, he'd be all over her. When taking into account Kathy Staff's brief exit from the show in 2001 and later absence from series 30 to series 31 (see above), Jane Freeman as Ivy is the only character other than Clegg (Peter Sallis) to have been present throughout the course of the series (although Clegg is the only one to have appeared in every single episode), however she was not present in the final episode of the series.

Sid (John Comer)

(1973–1983), bluff tea-shop owner, who featured prominently for the first ten years, before his death in 1984. Ivy remembers him fondly, and often mentions him in conversation. Sid was one of the few characters who actually seemed to enjoy getting involved in the misadventures of the three central characters, and often saw them as an excuse to get out of the cafe for a couple of hours. Ivy and Sid often shouted and argued with each other (and Ivy was never shy about bringing up Sid's infidelity), but, as with many of the show's couples, there was little doubt that they loved each other. For John Comer's last appearance, in 1983's feature-length Christmas special, 'Getting Sam Home', illness caused by cancer affected his speech, and so his lines were dubbed over by another actor, Tony Melody. Comer died a few months later. Sid's death was not referred to until "Uncle of the Bride" on New Year's Day 1986. In "Just a Small Funeral" as Ivy is getting ready for Compo's funeral, she finds a photo of Sid in her handbag.

Milburn, aka "Crusher" (Jonathan Linsley)

(1984–1987) Ivy's giant, lumbering and very strong nephew, who bore a striking resemblance to Sid. The character first appeared in 1984, to compensate for the death of John Comer who played Sid. Crusher helped his auntie Ivy out in the cafe for 3½ years. His real name was Milburn, but he insisted on being called "Crusher". He was influenced by the Rock and Rollers of the 1950s and was into heavy metal music. Well-meaning but not overly bright, he was rather easily led. Crusher was first seen in the touring stage show before being introduced into the series. However Crusher did not return in the tenth series, as Jonathan Linsley decided to leave the show after going on a crash diet: most of the character's humor came from the contrast between his menacing size and his total harmlessness. Following his departure in early 1988 after the 1987 Christmas special, Ivy ran the cafe alone (with occasional help from Nora Batty).

Compo's Family

Gordon Simmonite (Philip Jackson)

(1976) An oft-forgotten character, Gordon was Compo's gormless fishing-obsessed nephew, and appeared in a few 1976 episodes, joining the trio on a Bank Holiday trip to Scarborough, and in a later episode, marrying a young woman he met there. In some ways he was a prototype of Barry, who was introduced in the mid-1980s.

Tom Simmonite (Tom Owen)

(2000–2010) Compo's long-lost son, arriving just after his father’s death, Tom is played by Bill Owen’s real-life son. Tom is a layabout like Compo but seems a bit more enterprising in his attempts to maintain his slothful lifestyle. Originally it was planned that Tom would fill the gap in the three-man line-up left by his father, but it was soon felt that this line-up didn't quite work. For most of his time in the series, he was paired with Smiler working for Auntie Wainwright, and also, in one episode, goes to live with Smiler (though it's not clear if this continued or not). Of the duo, he designates himself the 'leader' and the planner (often leaving Smiler to struggle with Auntie Wainwright's antiquated hand-cart while he strolls on ahead), although in truth, he is not particularly bright himself. After Smiler was written out of the series, Tom continued to work for Aunty Wainwright until the conclusion of the show's run. Clegg and Truly often take advantage of his desire to live up to his father's reputation in order to convince him to do rather stupid things. After the death of Compo, Nora feels somewhat maternal towards Tom, and often showers him with affection—much to the embarrassment of Tom. He also has a scruffy puppet dog called Waldo. When not working for Auntie Wainwright, Tom can usually be found in his allotment shed, avoiding the repo man. When he first arrived in the series, Tom also had a tatty old yellow Renault van, but this was seen in only a couple of his early appearances. (Note: For some years before joining the series as Tom Simmonite, Tom Owen sometimes appeared in small walk-on parts on the show (for instance appearing on the 1991 Christmas special), sometimes with no dialogue, and not always credited.)

Mrs (Lolly Minerva) Avery (Julie T. Wallace)

(2000–2001) Tom's live-in "associate"; much larger than him, and something of a battle-axe, yet rather easily manipulated. Although Tom always insisted that she was merely an acquaintance, Mrs Avery always wanted more, and was under the impression that Tom had promised to marry her. After a brief spell of living in the pair's bus, they moved into the deceased Compo's home, next-door to Nora Batty. During her stay at Compo's home, she began a rivalry with Nora, often copying each other (cleaning their windows or vacuuming their rugs). This was not to last; she threw him out and disappeared from the series after only a year on the show.

Babs Avery (Helen Turner)

(2000) Arriving on the scene with Tom Simmonite was Babs, Mrs. Avery's niece and a rather large and troublesome teenager who was involved in several of Tom's schemes. The character was not well received and did not last long on the show; after the handful of episodes that remained of her inaugural season, she quietly disappeared.

The Pegdens/Utterthwaites

Seymour Utterthwaite was the third man of the trio from 1986 to 1990. He left the series in 1990 when Foggy Dewhurst returned to the show, but his family had gained so much popularity themselves that they remained on the show.

Wesley Pegden (Gordon Wharmby)

(1982, 1984–2002) Edie's husband, who spends all his time in his workshop/garage. In one of the most popular and often recycled scenes in the series, Edie would call Wesley in from his garage (after much shouting, first in gentle 'posh' tones, before ending up in harsh yelling) and would lay down a trail of newspaper for him to stand on—often putting one on the wall just in time as he leant against it. Wesley generally kept out of Edie's way in his garage, restoring old motors. The character first appeared in the 1982 episode 'Car and Garter' in a cameo role. The writer and producers liked him so much that they brought him back for the 1984 Christmas Special 'The Loxley Lozenge' and the 1985 special 'Who's Looking After The Cafe Then?'. He reappeared in the 1986 feature-length 'Uncle Of The Bride', in which he was established as Edie's husband, at which point both became regulars. Mechanic Wesley was often called upon by the main trio to construct the many bizarre creations they came up with, and to drive them into the hills for test runs. One reoccurring theme is the occasional explosion caused by projects in Wesley's shed and accompanied by billows of white smoke. On some occasions, Wesley's hat is also smoldering and smoking. In his early years in the series, Wesley seemed to have a love of loud rock music, which led to the trio desperately trying to call over it to get his attention on a number of occasions. When Wharmby died in 2002, the character also died; although he was not formally written out, subsequent references to him were in the past tense.

Edith "Edie" Pegden (Dame Thora Hird)

(1986–2003), a highly opinionated older woman, sister of Seymour Utterthwaite (who called her Edith), she was the house-proud hostess of the women's coffee mornings. She was introduced, along with Seymour, daughter Glenda and son-in-law Barry in the 1986 episode "Uncle of the Bride" (husband Wesley was introduced in 1982). The ladies' tea meetings, where they would sit and discuss life (particularly the strangeness of men), which became a popular staple of the show in the 1990s, were usually held in Edie's front room. Wesley restored a convertible car for her to drive, although she was a terrible driver, and was always accusing Wesley of moving things (particularly the gear lever) around. Another running gag would be, when going out, Edie making a big performance out of locking the front door, repeatedly pushing it to check that it was locked properly. In later years Hird, who was still in the series at age 90, suffered bad health, which particularly affected her ability to stand. To cover this, she was often seen sitting down, or, when standing, had something to hold on to (often out of camera shot). For driving and distance shots, her double (Amy Shaw) was used. When Hird died in 2003, Edie was also said to have died. As with husband Wesley, it was not immediately made obvious. Later references to the character were used to indicate that she had died. In the final 3 series, a framed photo of Edie can be seen on Barry and Glenda's mantelpiece. In one episode Barry talks about ghosts and Glenda asks if he had seen her mother. Barry's response in the negative includes immense gladness in that she scared him enough alive.

For the first few series in which she appeared, Edie was extremely concerned with her reputation in the neighbourhood: whenever there was company, Edie would try to put on a posh, educated voice—which would suddenly vanish when she was shouting for (or at) Wesley. This aspect of Edie's character acted as a prototype for Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances (also written by Roy Clarke). Once the latter series was created, this aspect of Edie's personality was toned down a bit (although not completely) in order to separate the two characters.

Glenda Wilkinson (Sarah Thomas)

(Sarah Thomas: 1986–2010) daughter of Edie and Wesley. The other women in the group consider that she is somewhat naive, despite her being middle-aged. When her mother was alive, if she attempted to join in a mature conversation, Edie would snap "drink your coffee!" She speaks glowingly of her husband Barry, but is often insecure and unsatisfied with him at home, often because of the pressure of her mother and other ladies in the group. She often comes to the defence of men when other women in the group speak the worst about them and does not believe that all men are evil, as they do. She appears, like her husband, to have a very meek demeanour, but under duress she has proven to be quite a force to be reckoned with. In the very last episode of all, Glenda seem clearly to have joined the bossy Yorkshire women brigade in her issuance of suggestions to Barry and Morton that are, in Barry's words "not optional". Although the rest of the ladies (particularly Pearl) had a dislike for the flirtatious Marina, Glenda was seen to strike up friendship with her on a number of occasions (although this role was generally taken by Miss Davenport in the later series).

Barry Wilkinson (Mike Grady)

(1986–1990, 1996–2010) meek and mild husband of Glenda. Dull and ineffectual, accountant Barry strives for adventure but seems destined for paperwork and domesticity. His one pride is his shiny new car, which he was always trying to keep away from father-in-law Wesley, who could not resist tinkering under the bonnet. Barry is often trying out new hobbies in an attempt to stop his life being humdrum; and in more recent years, has made a number of attempts to fit in at a local golf club, often upsetting the golf captain "The Major". After being introduced in the feature-length "Uncle Of The Bride" in 1986, which centres around Barry and Glenda's wedding, Barry was much-mentioned but not seen for a few years when Mike Grady left to pursue several other television projects, before returning as a regular in the mid-1990s. He is one of the few characters to have left the series but returned in later series.

Ros Utterthwaite (Dora Bryan)

(2000–2005) Edie's and Seymour's sister, who has always been more romantically adventurous, to Edie's unending shame. She often speaks of past flings, frequently with married men. She was often paired with Pearl Sibshaw. Ros was last seen at the end of the 26th series following the departure of Dora Bryan owing to ill health. Her role of being paired with Pearl was replaced by June Whitfield's character Nelly.

The Sibshaws and Marina

Howard Sibshaw (Robert Fyfe)

(1985–2010) Howard is the shy, simpering, henpecked husband of Pearl. Doubtless owing to his wife's domineering nature, Howard often tries to escape from her. Most episode involve Howard dating peroxide blonde, Marina, behind his wife's back. In most episodes, Marina would simper, "Oh Howard.", followed by Howard's "Oh Marina.". He is a creative but unconvincing liar. He and Pearl live next door to Clegg, and, much to the annoyance of Clegg, Howard is always pestering him for aid in his various schemes to escape Pearl and be with Marina. Over the years he has come up with countless disguises, cover stories and hideaways to allow him to see Marina, all of which have ultimately been doomed or exposed by Pearl. He tends to ignore Marina when he's out with her, partly out of fear of his wife Pearl, and partly because he gets so deeply caught up in fabricating charades to cover up his affair. However, their relationship doesn't appear to have gone beyond hand-holding and gazing into each other's eyes (much to the annoyance of Marina). Howard is often too busy worrying about Pearl to pay Marina any kind of romantic attention, and it is hinted that even if the opportunity ever did arise, Howard would be too cowardly to go through with it anyway. Perhaps for this reason, it has also been suggested that Howard loves Pearl underneath it all. Howard first appeared in the Bournemouth summer season show of the series, and was popular enough and felt to have enough potential that he was soon made a regular character. At first, he, Pearl and Marina were used semi-regularly, but as time passed and their popularity grew, they appeared in every episode. Howard and Pearl's surname was given as Sibshaw in Roy Clarke's novel 'The Moonbather' in 1987, but almost never used in the series- it was given in only the very last series.

Pearl Sibshaw (Juliette Kaplan)

(1985–2010) Howard's wife, a bit of a shrew and always one step ahead of his crafty schemes, she is often shown to know about his (attempted) affair with Marina, but is almost gleefully obsessed with exposing Howard's philandering and generally tormenting him. Although she has a fearsome reputation, she, like Nora, occasionally surprises Norman Clegg and others (not including Howard) with displays of kindness, especially after Compo died.

When she was first introduced on the show, Pearl was somewhat naive, especially towards Howard's affair with Marina. When introduced to the ladies' tea group, Nora, Ivy, and Edie integrated her into the group and, over time, her demeanour has hardened.

Marina (Jean Fergusson)

(1985–2010) busty but over-age, Howard's love interest Marina works in a local supermarket. Despite her carefree appearance and large chest, Marina is a long-suffering type, having to deal with the disapproval of the prominent village women, the indirect wrath of Pearl, and timorous and neglectful romancing by Howard. Although at first seeming a "tart", in truth Marina is only longingly searching for love. Marina works as a check-out girl at the local Co-op (although in more recent series, the store's name has been seen as Lodges); Howard often sneaks there to pass or receive notes from her (or more often sends Norman Clegg in his place; leading on several occasions for Marina to believe mistakenly that Clegg is interested in her romantically). Marina longs for love, and seems to have a particularly soft spot for Clegg. In A Sidecar Named Desire Clegg reveals that he was once trapped in a lift with Marina and they had to cuddle together to keep warm. Though she perceived it to be a romantic incident, it left Clegg terrified of her. Clegg always strongly denies any romantic interest in her. Marina first appeared in the spin-off 1984 Eastbourne summer season show, and soon became a regular character. In A Sidecar Named Desire, Compo says of Marina, "she's not for marrying, she's for educational purposes".

Aunty Wainwright's Shop

See Also: Tom Simmonite

Aunty Wainwright (Jean Alexander)

(1988, 1989, 1992–2010) sly and grasping junk shop owner. She is Howard's "Aunty" and while both have a general predisposition towards sneakiness, Aunty Wainwright is much more adept at applying it. Clegg is reluctant to go into her store, since she always sells him something he doesn't want. In addition to her junk shop, she has also been seen owning a junk yard where Compo went to meet one of his long-time loves. She is extremely mean, and pretends to be cheated when she gives the slightest discount. At Compo's funeral, she grabbed Eli by the arm and pretended to be blind in order to avoid giving money to a collection outside the church.

As with several other characters, she originally was seen in a "one-off" appearance in the 1988 Christmas Special Crums, and was so popular that she was brought back, eventually becoming a regular from 1992 until the end of the series in 2010. Note: Aunty Wainwright is no relation to Mr Wainwright from the library. (See Below)

Clem "Smiler" Hemmingway (Stephen Lewis)

(Stephen Lewis: 1988, 1990–2007) eternally miserable and none-too-bright comic foil, similar to Lewis' character Inspector Cyril "Blakey" Blake in LWT's hit comedy On The Buses (many episodes of which he co-wrote) from 1969 to 1973. Smiler was first seen as a one-off character in 1988's 'That Certain Smile', in which the trio had to sneak a hospitalised Smiler's beloved dog Bess in to see him. The character was popular enough to be brought back on a semi-regular basis, and was a regular throughout the 1990s and most of the 2000s (although his dog died between his first and second appearances). In some early appearances, he was a lollipop man, but for much of his time on the show worked for Auntie Wainwright, with whom he seems to be suffering some sort of indentured servitude. In early appearances, Smiler was also a lodger with Nora Batty, which enraged the jealous Compo. Smiler also owned a big, but rather beaten up and poorly maintained, white convertible 1972 Chevrolet Impala, in which he sometimes drove around with Tom, and which on occasion has been used in various promotions for Auntie Wainwright. Smiler was last seen in the series 28 episode "Sinclair and the Wormley Witches". Lewis left the show at the end of series 28 because of ill health. He was last mentioned in the series 29 episode "Of Passion and Pizza" by Tom's saying that Smiler had disappeared from the series.

The Library

Mr Wainwright (Blake Butler)

(1973 and 1976) The rather timid head of the local library, which the trio visited a lot in the show's early days. Mr Wainwright left at the same time as Mrs Partridge's departure (see below), but was "transferred back" to the area in the third series, featuring in two episodes where he was once again romancing his new assistant, Miss Moody. (Note: Mr Wainwright is not related to Auntie Wainwright.)

Lucinda Davenport (Josephine Tewson)

(2003–2010) After many years of the library setting not really being used, Miss Davenport was introduced as the new librarian in 2003. A very emotional woman haunted by a string of past rejections, she first appeared as a guest, driving Gavin Hinchcliff around while he skied on the van roof. Originally, Glenda took up the cause of socializing her and tried to fit her in with the coffee-drinker circle of Nora, Ivy, Pearl, and co. They didn't take too well to each other; in more recent episodes, she's bonded with Marina instead, with the pair of them both longing for love in their individual ways. In the episode: "In Which Howard Remembers Where He Left His Bicycle Pump", it is revealed that Miss Davenport's first name is "Lucinda".

Around Town

Eli Duckett (Danny O'Dea)

(1987–2002) An extremely short-sighted bumbler, Eli maintains a highly cheerful, friendly attitude despite not having a clue what's going on around him. He generally makes only brief cameo appearances, walking into a scene and commenting on his near-sighted interpretation of the action, and then walking off again. On occasion, his short-sightedness would see him walking into slapstick (and carefully choreographed) mishaps such as walking into the back of a lorry and over the tops of cars, or falling into a skip. For much of his time in the series, Eli also had a Jack Russell dog (which once went missing, leading Eli to mistake a sheep for the dog). Despite his short-sightedness, Eli is eternally cheerful and optimistic, and glad to see anyone who stops to talk to him. In one episode, a passing comment by Compo seemed to suggest that Eli was a sniper during WWII.

In the 1995 New Year Special episode featuring Norman Wisdom, 'The Man Who Nearly Knew Pavarotti', Eli is the conductor of the Holme Silver Band. Originally brought in as a friend of Wally Batty, the character was popular enough that Eli remained on the show after the death of actor Joe Gladwin. Eli and Wally appeared together in only one episode: "Jaws" in 1987.

Eli has not appeared again since the death of O'Dea, though the character has not been explicitly killed off. In the rest of the 2002 series, Eli was not present. His place of sorts was taken by two drunks (who were also in earlier episodes of the series, sometimes credited as Villagers), but appeared in only a few episodes.

In the 1988 episode "The Pig Man Cometh" of All Creatures Great and Small O'Dea played the character Rupe who, like Eli, was nearsighted, clearly alluding to his role on Last of the Summer Wine.

Nelly (June Whitfield)

(2005–2010) A more recent addition to the ladies' coffee-drinking set, and Pearl's comrade-in-arms. Nelly's never-seen husband Travis needs constant attention, which Nelly generally administers over her mobile phone. Nelly occasionally provides more "sophisticated" viewpoints as a result of having lived further south for some time, but even she regards them with some befuddlement. June Whitfield previously made a "one off" appearance in the series as a different character, Delphi Potts, in the 2001 Christmas Special, 'Potts in Pole Position', married to Lother, the character of Warren Mitchell, a couple of years before she became a regular as Nelly. In Series 30, she became the object of Hobbo's obsession when he became convinced that she was his long-lost mother. She was one of the only two regular characters (the other being Ivy) not to appear in the final episode.

Morton Beemish (Christopher Beeny)

(2001–2005, 2007, 2008–2010) He first appeared as an unnamed character, "the Repo man", who is always pursuing Tom Simmonite, claiming that he owes money. He is determined but gullible, and Tom always evades him. From 2005 on, he has not only been mentioned by name, but also calls on Barry for social visits, with Barry not being too thrilled at this newfound friendship. In certain episodes in 2005, it is clear that he still repossesses belongings, which Glenda suggests is the reason none of his friendships lasted: he kept repossessing his friends' goods. The character returned in a 2007 episode of the show; and again in the 2008 New Year special, saying that he has retired from debt collecting and changed his name to Morton Beemish in order to start a new life for himself. He seeks out the friendship of his former nemesis, Tom. In series 30 and series 31 the character lives next door to Barry and Glenda, moving in as lodger with Toby Mulberry, (aka The Captain).

Toby Mulberry Smith (Trevor Bannister)

(2001–2006, 2008–2010) The Captain of the local golf club where Barry is often trying to fit in as a member; but, despite his best efforts to impress him, Barry always manages to annoy or offend the Major, either by becoming involved with some escapade with the main trio, or by some other social faux pas. Trevor Bannister is best known for playing Mr Lucas in another comedy favourite, Are You Being Served?, with Frank Thornton from 1972 to 1979, and also starred with Brian Wilde in the short-lived Wyatt's Watchdogs in 1988. He had previously played a tailor in the 1992 episode 'Who's Got Rhythm?'. The Captain returned for the 2008 New Years Special I Was A Hitman For Primrose Dairies, where he received a name, Toby, for the first time. In series 30 he moves in next door to Barry and Glenda and shortly after gains Morton Beemish (aka Herman Teesdale), the repo man, as lodger.

Minor Recurring Characters

Billy Ingleton (Sir Norman Wisdom)

(1995, 1996, 2001, 2002 and 2004) Like a number of other characters, Norman Wisdom was originally intended to make one guest appearance in the show, and ended up as a recurring character. He originally played the hapless Billy Ingleton in the 1995 New Year special 'The Man Who Nearly Knew Pavarotti'. He proved so popular that like Aunty Wainwright before him, he was asked to appear in the following year's special ('Extra! Extra!'). From then on, much-loved comedian Norman Wisdom occasionally pops up, sometimes for the storyline of an episode, at other times in smaller appearances. He is not always credited for smaller appearances.


Local policemen often witness the bizarre goings on, usually related to the main trio, and watch in bemusement. They are generally seen parked up around the moors and trying not to get involved with anything, instead eating (they have even been seen to have a roadside barbecue on occasion) or drinking tea.

PC Cooper (aka 1st Policeman) (Ken Kitson)

(1983, 1988–2010) Kitson first appeared in the 1983 Christmas special 'Getting Sam Home' and made 2 further guest appearances before becoming a semi-regular character from series 12 onwards. In series 29 he was finally given the name PC Cooper.[24] Cooper tends to be the bigger-headed of the two, but he has many ingenious ways of dealing with petty crimes with minimal disruption to his relaxation.

PC Walsh (aka 2nd Policeman) (Louis Emerick)

(1988, 1989, 2004–2010) Emerick first appeared alongside Kitson in 'Downhill Racer'. He made one more appearance in the next series, in the episode 'Three Men and a Mangle', and later reappeared in 2004 to partner Kitson after Tony Capstick's death. In series 29 he was finally given the name PC Walsh.[24] Walsh is more level-headed than Cooper and enjoys "taking the mickey", but he tends to be a little more naïve.

2nd Policeman (Tony Capstick)

(1987, 1990–2004) Capstick made his first appearance in the 1987 special 'Big Day at Dream Acres', before becoming a semi-regular alongside Kitson from series 12 in 1990, up to his death in 2003. His last appearance was the episode 'Yours Truly - If You're Not Careful'. Capstick's character was spacey and less intelligent even than the often-oblivious Cooper.


  1. ^ Bright and Ross (2000), p. 40
  2. ^ "compo". Wiktionary. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  3. ^ Bright and Ross (2000), p. 44
  4. ^ "Elegy for Fallen Wellies". Roy Clarke (writer) & Alan J. W. Bell (director). Last of the Summer Wine. BBC One. 2000-04-23. No. 4, season 21.
  5. ^ a b c d "Last of the Summer Wine: Of Funerals and Fish". Roy Clarke (writer) & James Gilbert (director). Comedy Playhouse. BBC One. 1973-01-04. No. 1, season 14.
  6. ^ a b "The New Mobile Trio". Roy Clarke (writer) & James Gilbert (director). Last of the Summer Wine. BBC One. 1973-12-10. No. 5, season 1.
  7. ^ Bright and Ross (2000), p. 50
  8. ^ "Series Profile: Last of the Summer Wine". The Insider. May 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  9. ^ Bright and Ross (2000), pp. 56–57
  10. ^ "The Man from Oswestry". Roy Clarke (writer) & Sydney Lotterby (director). Last of the Summer Wine. BBC One. 1976-10-27. No. 1, season 3.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Uncle of the Bride". Roy Clarke (writer) & Alan J. W. Bell (director). Last of the Summer Wine. BBC One. 1986-01-01. New Year Special.
  12. ^ a b "Return of the Warrior". Roy Clarke (writer) & Alan J. W. Bell (director). Last of the Summer Wine. BBC One. 1990-09-02. No. 1, season 12.
  13. ^ a b "There Goes the Groom". Roy Clarke (writer) & Alan J. W. Bell (director). Last of the Summer Wine. BBC One. 1997-12-29. Christmas Special.
  14. ^ The Odd Dog Men. 1982-1-18.
  15. ^ Bright and Ross (2000), pp. 71
  16. ^ "The Second Husband and the Showgirls". Roy Clarke (writer) & Alan J. W. Bell (director). Last of the Summer Wine. BBC One. 2003-03-09. No. 9, season 24.
  17. ^ a b "How Errol Flynn Discovered the Secret Scar of Nora Batty". Roy Clarke (writer) & Alan J. W. Bell (director). Last of the Summer Wine. BBC One. 1999-04-25. No. 2, season 20.
  18. ^ "Last Post and Pigeon". Roy Clarke (writer) & Alan J. W. Bell (director). Last of the Summer Wine. BBC One. 2000-01-02. Millennium Special.
  19. ^ "I Didn't Know Barry Could Play". Roy Clarke (writer) & Alan J. W. Bell (director). Last of the Summer Wine. BBC One. 2000-06-04. No. 10, season 21.
  20. ^ "Getting Barry's Goat". Roy Clarke (writer) & Alan J. W. Bell (director). Last of the Summer Wine. BBC One. 2001-04-01. No. 1, season 22.
  21. ^ Bright and Ross (2000), pp. 140
  22. ^ "The Lair of the Cat Creature". Roy Clarke (writer) & Alan J. W. Bell (director). Last of the Summer Wine. BBC One. 2003-01-05. No. 1, season 24.
  23. ^ "I Was A Hitman for Primrose Dairies". Roy Clarke (writer) & Alan J. W. Bell (director). Last of the Summer Wine. BBC One. 2008-12-31. New Years Special.
  24. ^ a b "Last of the Summer Wine - Sunday 06 July". Radio Times. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 


Bright, Morris; Ross, Robert (2000-04-06). Last of the Summer Wine: The Finest Vintage. London: BBC Worldwide. ISBN 0563551518. 

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