British actor Rodney Bewes has died aged 79, just six days before his 80th birthday.

Having enjoyed an acting career that spanned a lifetime, Bewes was best known for his portrayal of the aspiring Bob Ferris in The Likely Lads.

The announcement of his death was made by his agent, who was joined by fans on Twitter sharing their favourite memories of the actor.

Yorkshire born and bred

Born in West Yorkshire, Bewes didn't let his childhood asthma stand in the way of his career ambitions.

At the young age of 14, he was already a regular on the BBC, one of the few at the time to begin a career in television from a less affluent background.

Bewes' studies at RADA were interrupted by National Service in the RAF. On his return, he financed his career by washing up in hotel kitchens, but it didn't take long for the star to start gaining recognition.

With his Yorkshire accent, Bewes benefited from the so-called "New Wave" in British cinema, where actors with authentic regional accents were suddenly sought after for the big screen. His first film, Prize of Arms was released in 1962, followed in quick succession by Billy Liar.

'The Likely Lads'

The Bewes we know today is remembered for his starring role in the sitcom The Likely Lads during the sixties and seventies.

He would return to play the much-loved Bob Ferris in the sequel Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? which was watched by an audience of 27 million.

Unfortunately, a fallout between Bewes and co-star James Bolam put an end to further reprisals. Although Bewes hoped to make it up with his co-star in later years, it was not to be.

A family favourite

A 1984 role in Dr Who, as well as appearing alongside popular childhood character Basil Brush secured Bewes' place as a British national treasure. By the late 1980s, Bewes' television career was behind him, but he remained a lively presence on stage for years after.

Bewes' second wife, designer Daphne Black, passed away in 2015.

He leaves behind four children and two grandchildren, who have released a statement to say they 'will always remember Dad as full of laughter and fun'.

Messages of condolences and fond memories have poured in on social media, marking the legacy of a British acting legend.

Basil Brush remembered his first sidekick:

Viewers acknowledged the cultural importance of The Likely Lads:

Fans shared their favourite moments of the series:

One fan paid this artistic tribute: