. . . Born Gordon Kaye, the unusual spelling of his stage name – Gorden – is said to have come from a typing error at Equity, the actors’ union. He used to say that this was “the result of a misspelt youth”.
Gorden Kaye had his first taste of the entertainment industry when he interviewed The Beatles while working in hospital radio in 1965.
The former grammar school student and rugby player had worked in a variety of jobs – including in radio, positions at a tractor factory and textile mills – when he signed up for a radio play directed by playwright and director Sir Alan Ayckbourn.
Apparently impressed with his ability, Ayckbourn suggested Kaye try out for a theatre company, and his acting career was launched.
He got his TV break playing Elsie Tanner’s nephew, Bernard Butler, in Coronation Street in 1969. Later roles included appearances in the film version of Porridge, Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, and a BBC production of Mansfield Park.
But it was being vast as cafe owner René Artois in ‘Allo ‘Allo! in 1982 that really put Kaye on the showbiz map.
He appeared in all 84 episodes of the series, which ran until 1992, and reprised the role in a 2007 special. . . .