2016 has been a terrible year for losses in the entertainment world. Indeed, just this last week I seem to have done nothing but post obituaries. Yesterday saw news break of another passing to add to the ranks as it was revealed that Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs had died on 23rd November at the age of 86.
The actor, famous for playing Manuel the hapless waiter in the classic BBC sitcom, had been suffering from dementia for the past four years.However, he continued to work right up until the end with roles most recently in soap opera EastEnders (opposite Timothy West, husband of his Fawlty Towers co-star Prunella Scales) Kelsey Grammer comedy film Breaking The Bank and Tim Burton's Alice Through The Looking Glass.
He will of course be best remembered for Fawlty Towers but Sachs' 60 year career - which commenced in 1947 with uncredited schoolboy parts in Ealing's Hue and Cry and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby - was very diverse and varied with prolific and notable roles in both comedy and drama. He will also be remembered for the infamous 'Sachsgate' controversy that rocked the BBC comedy department when, in 2008, Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand proceeded to leave a string of obscene telephone messages to the unwitting actor on Brand's Radio 2 show. Sachs was also a much in demand voice over artiste, dubbing the English language versions of Monkey and the animated Asterix movies, as well as narrating everything from '90s kids cartoon William's Wish Wellingtons to Peter Kay's breakthrough series That Peter Kay Thing. In recent years he regularly guest starred in a series of popular dramas and soaps including the aforementioned EastEnders, Coronation Street, Holby City, Casualty (three times in fact between 2008 and 2011) Doctors and The Bill. His last regular role in a drama series was probably 1999's Jack of Hearts alongside Keith Allen, Anna Mountford and Ruth Madoc.