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Chester born comedy star Hugh Lloyd dies

CHESTER-born comedian and actor Hugh Lloyd MBE, famed for co-starring with the legendary Tony Hancock, has died aged 85.

CHESTER-born comedian and actor Hugh Lloyd MBE, famed for co-starring with the legendary Tony Hancock, has died aged 85.

An avid Chester City supporter, Hugh Lewis Lloyd was born on April 22, 1923 in Chester, the son of a tobacco factory manager. His parents were strict Methodists and disapproved of their son’s ambitions of becoming a comedian.

He was educated at the King’s School before taking his first job as a cub reporter reviewing local theatre at the Chester Chronicle where he stayed for two years.

He went on to star in 25 episodes of ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ from 1957-61 as the comedy great’s sidekick, including the classic ‘Blood Donor’ episode.

Following that great success, he got the title role in ‘Hugh and I’ with Terry Scott. Other TV credits included ‘The Gnomes of Dulwich’, ‘Lollipop Loves Mr Mole’, ‘Jury’ and ‘You Rang M’Lord’. He also starred in and devised the series ‘Lord Trump’.

Hugh established himself as a reliable comic actor drawing inspiration from his hero Stan Laurel, appearing alongside Victoria Wood and Jimmy Cricket as well as in many prestigious television plays, including ‘She’s Been Away Too Long’, ‘The Dunroamin Rising’ and ‘A Matter Of Will’.

He excelled in Alan Bennett's ‘A Visit From Miss Protheroe’, a Play of the Week on BBC 2, with Patricia Routledge, and ‘Say Something Happened’ with Julie Walters and Thora Hird.

A turn in 1970s cult film ‘Quadrophenia’ and roles in ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘The Ruth Rendell Mysteries’ cemented his reputation as a versatile actor.

He even went on to play pantomime roles, including one as an Ugly Sister at the London Palladium with Cliff Richard.

In the West End, he took to the stage with Ian McKellan at the Royal National Theatre, in ‘The Critic’.

More recently, he starred in small screen adaptations of Laurie Lee’s ‘Cider With Rosie’ and Dickens’ ‘Great Expectations’.

In 2005, Lloyd was awarded an MBE for his services to drama and charity.

talking about sweets.

He is survived by his widow, Shän, and his second wife, the musician José Stewart.

Ian Bedford, former sports editor of the Chester Chronicle, writes: “I first met Hugh Lloyd some time in the 70s. I was in the guests’ lounge of Brentford FC at half-time during a Chester game and he came over and introduced himself. Although he had been living in Sussex for many years he still kept in touch with the club through the Chronicle which he had posted to him every week.

“Since then he made a number of trips to his native city to take in a game as often as his work commitments allowed and kept in touch with affairs at Chester City through the Clubcall service and occasional phone calls to me at The Chronicle. He often seemed better informed than we were!

“Even on his nationwide and overseas tours with various plays he would make sure he somehow got to hear the Chester result and he devoted a chapter in his autobiography to his interest in football and Chester City in particular. Probably because of a career learning his lines he had a remarkable memory and could recall games and players I had long since forgotten!

“Hugh was proud to be a Cestrian and probably would have stayed closer to the city had he not moved into show business. He was always happy to return and did so professionally to appear at the Gateway Theatre and at Theatr Clwyd, where he starred with Sir Anthony Hopkins in the stage production of ‘August’, the film of which had had previously completed in North Wales.

“Most of all, though, he looked forward to his visits to Sealand Road and, latterly, to the Deva Stadium. Chester FC have lost an exiled, but enthusiastic fan.”

Eddie McDonald, 83, worked as a sports reporter at the Chester Chronicle alongside Hugh Lloyd from 1942 and last saw him at the Deva Stadium in 2000.

He paid tribute to a man he says was well known for comedy shows in local halls in Chester before finding fame.

“It’s fair to say that he remained a true Cestrian. He didn’t spend enough time on the Chronicle to leave a deep impression there but everybody knew him and most people were proud of the fact that a Chester lad had got so far in television.

“There was only one theatre and one show a week to be reviewed but he did his wack of amateur companies as well.

“He left the Chronicle to join ENSA (the Entertainments National Service Association) in 1943.

“You could almost call them a showbiz family because his mother ran Deva Ladies Singers female choir.

“During the war you could occasionally get a show at the Royalty with a big star in it. One week, they had a show with Tom Walls, well known in the West End for risque farces.

“Chief reporter George Roberts decided he wanted to see the show and appropriated the tickets. He told the editor he didn’t think it was wise to let a junior attend a show of that nature.”

 

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