Reg Varney, who was famous for his role as Butler in ‘On The Buses’ has died at the age of 92. Although ‘On The Buses’ has long vanished from our screens (with the exception of rare appearances on satellite channels) the series is probably best remembered for the catch-phrase uttered by Inspector Blakey (Stephen Lewis); ‘I ‘ate you, Butler!’.
Although a very basic format in which Reg (then in his mid-fifties) played a thirty-ish bus-driver who never seemed to succeed with the ladies, the series was extraordinarily popular.
Varney’s career was far more than ‘OTB’ however, as his performances ranged over sitcoms, films and stage performance.
Sadly, I had imagined Varney to be long dead, when he had been retired and painting landscapes on the coast. Lately he had been living in a home in Budleigh Salterton.
Varney also secured his place in history by making the world's first withdrawal from an electronic automated teller machine, at a branch of Barclays Bank in Enfield, North London in 1967, which is good to remember, as it might come up in a pub quiz one day.
Instead of sending me my new camera lens, the company I had ordered it from sent me a pair of binoculars.
I sent them a vexed e-mail.