Howard Lew Lewis
|Opening theme||"Because of You"
Dexys Midnight Runners
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||5|
|No. of episodes||40|
|Running time||29 mins approx.|
|Original run||1 September 1986– 7 April 1991|
Brush Strokes is a British television sitcom, broadcast on BBC television from 1986 to 1991. Written by Esmonde and Larbey and set in South London, it depicted the (mostly) amorous adventures of a good-looking, wisecracking house painter, Jacko (Karl Howman). There were 40 episodes spread over 5 series.
Jacko works as a house painter alongside his brother-in-law, Eric (Mike Walling), who was married to Jacko's sister Jean (Nicky Croydon). He lives with his sister and brother-in-law in a similar set up to Stan Butler's (Reg Varney) character in On the Buses. Jacko also shares an anti-authority humour. In this case the butt of his humour is his boss, Lionel Bainbridge.
Gary Waldhorn (later to star in The Vicar of Dibley) played Lionel Bainbridge. Elizabeth Counsell played his wife, Veronica, who had a crush on Jacko. The Bainbridges had a daughter called Lesley who is a spoilt daddy's girl, and became Jacko's girlfriend during series one. She was played by two actresses during the life of the show: Kim Thomson in the first series and Erika Hoffman from series two onward.
Jacko is a ladies' man. Much of the humour comes from his attempts at picking up women whilst around town on painting jobs - much to the disdain of his sister, his boss, and his boss' secretary.
Jackie Lye played Sandra, the secretary at work who became Jacko's fiancée in series two (although the wedding never happened - but they still went on the honeymoon, because they'd paid for it). Other familiar faces that have appeared in episodes include Janine Duvitski, Tracie Bennett and Pippa Haywood.
The show is remembered by many for the slow-off-the-mark pub landlord, Elmo Putney (Howard Lew Lewis) who ran the pub where Jacko and friends took their lunch breaks. In later episodes, Jacko unsuccessfully started his own company, "Splosh" - changing the pub into a wine bar - losing all the regular customers without picking up any newer ones. Later Elmo leaves for Australia to set up another business in Alice Springs - which because of its name he thinks must be near a very large body of water. Elmo became a rich man after his dog discovered opals in Australia. Elmo returned and bought Jacko's failing company and turned it into a wine bar, where everything was decorated in pink. Jacko returned to Bainbridge's, where Veronica was now in charge after Lionel's death.
The theme song "Because of You" was written and performed by Dexys Midnight Runners. Released as a single in November 1986, it reached number 13 in the UK singles chart.
Jacko and Elmo also appeared in the 1989 Comic Relief show on BBC1 as a pair of murderous psychopaths.
Howard Lew Lewis also appeared with Erika Hoffman in a 1988 Hat Trick Productions comedy series for Channel 4, Chelmsford 123, where the two played "Blag" and "Gargamadua" respectively. Lewis' character in Chelmsford 123 was virtually identical to his character in Brush Strokes.
The first series was released around 2004 but went out of print. In 2011 (the 25th anniversary of the show's debut) it was re-released, credited as series 1 & 2, (to celebrate 25 years of the hit sitcom itself) under BBC DVD format.
The complete second and third series, credited as series 3 & 4, finally followed on 16 April 2012.
The fourth and fifth series, also credited as series 5 & 6, was released on 5 August 2013, followed by the complete collection set, consisting of all 5 series of the show, on the 7 October 2013.
- Brush Strokes at BBC Programmes
- Brush Strokes at BBC Online Comedy Guide
- Brush Strokes at the Internet Movie Database
- Brush Strokes at the British Comedy Guide
- Brush Strokes at British TV Resources