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At the well-travelled and experienced age of 75, it was reported that the Huddersfield-born actor Gorden Kaye had passed away at a care home on the morning of Monday the 23rd January.
When young, Kaye played rugby league for Moldgreen ARLFC before studying at King James's Grammar School, Almondbury, Huddersfield. He then worked in hospital radio in Huddersfield (interviewing the Beatles in 1965), and was employed in textile mills, a wine factory, and a tractor factory.
Making a name for himself in Coronation Street where he played Bernard Butler, the nephew of Elsie Tanner, Kaye would go on to appear in a number of classic British sitcoms, including ‘Til Death Do Us Part, It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum and Are You Being Served? before appearing in ‘Allo ‘Allo!
‘Allo ‘Allo! revolved around the antics of a band of resistance fighters in The Second World War in Nazi-occupied France. Gorden Kaye played lovable buffoon and café owner, René Artois, appearing in all 84 episodes and the stage adaptation of the iconic British comedy series. His last onscreen role was once again donning his signature white shirt and waistcoat as René in the 2007 one off return of ‘Allo ‘Allo!
Speaking to the BBC, Shane Allen, controller of BBC comedy commissioning, commented, “Gorden Kaye was a terrific comic actor whose signature role, Rene Artois, earned his place in the comedy hall of fame. He was instrumental in making 'Allo 'Allo! such a long running and well-loved series. His work lives on and thoughts are with friends and loved ones at this sad time.”
It was later revealed that the actor was suffering from dementia in his final years, being cared for by co-star and fellow actress Sue Hodge as covered here by The Daily Mirror.
Allo Allo - Gorden Kaye as Rene Artois (Left) and Carmen Silver as Edith Artois (Right)