Actor Stephen Lewis, who played "Blakey" in the hit TV sitcom On the Buses, has died, aged 88.

His family confirmed the actor passed away "quite peacefully" in a nursing home in Wanstead, east London, in the early hours of Wednesday (12 August) morning.

He was always singing and joking. We just want people to remember him.
- Rebecca Lewis

His nephew, Peter Lewis said his uncle's health had deteriorated in recent years. "He had terrible arthritis in one knee which really badly affected him, and many years ago he had prostate cancer - and whether that had come back we don't know."

His niece Rebecca Lewis added: "He was always singing and joking. We just want people to remember him."

Stephen had been in the care home for about three years with his sister 84-year-old Connie. "They looked after each other," said Peter.

Rashid Ebrahimkhan, manager of the Cambridge Nursing Home added: "He still had his sense of humour, very much so. He was very resilient until the last."

Born in east London in 1926, Stephen Lewis began his career at the Theatre Royal Stratford East under Joan Littlewood.

But he was best known for his role as inspector "Blakey" in the 1970s ITV sitcom On the Buses, which ran for seven series from 1969 to 1973 on ITV.

"Blakey", who was always at odds with Reg Varney's wily Stan Butler became known for his catchphrases was "I'll get you for this, Butler".

The popular sitcom spawned three big-screen spin-offs: On the Buses, Mutiny on the Buses and Holiday on the Buses.

Lewis's other sitcoms included Don't Drink the Water, On the Buses' short-lived, Spain-based sequel, and the BBC's railway-themed Oh, Mr Beeching!

He also appeared as Clem "Smiler" Hemmingway in more than 130 episodes of Last of the Summer Wine, until 2007.

His nephew Peter Lewis added: "I'll remember him as being a funny man."

Fans of the actor paid their tributes on social media.