Once in a while an actor comes along and despite seemingly playing pretty much the same character across multiple shows (with the only real difference being the character’s name) he or she nevertheless becomes a huge household name.
Geoffrey Hughes, one time Doctor Who guest, is one such actor. Well known for his role as binman Eddie Yates in Coronation Street, snobbish Hyacinth Bucket’s scruffy brother-in-law Onslow in Keeping Up Appearances, The Royle Family‘s ironically named Twiggy and HeartBeat‘s money grabbing Vernon Scripps, the scouse actor who voiced Paul McCartney in the Yellow Submarine film, has sadly passed away.
Let’s not be churlish, of course; beneath the rotund exterior and typical scouse wit Hughes was an extremely good actor, as demonstrated by a career that lasted around 50 years and also took in shows such as Z-Cars, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and The Saint.
For Doctor Who fans, of course, Hughes is known for playing Mr Popplewick, the epicentre of the Valeyard’s Victorian Fantasy Factory in The Ultimate Foe, the conclusion of the Trial of a Time Lord season back in 1986. Popplewick was essentially the Valeyard in disguise, enabling us to argue – for the purposes of this tribute – that Hughes was one of the many actors to play the Doctor!
Sure, it’s tenuous, but for an actor as strikingly familiar as this, we’re going to make an exception for a few hours.
Born in 1944, Hughes effectively retired in 2010 and died over the weekend at the age of 68 from prostate cancer.
Obituaries can be found at: