“PEOPLE still remember me as Bob.”

Bingley actor Rodney Bewes was in a reflective mood when I interviewed him in 2013, prior to him bringing a one-man show to his hometown.

The actor, best known as one half of the Likely Lads, was well aware that the much-loved sitcom was what he would always be remembered for. Some actors can be very dismissive about the defining role that launched their career, even refusing to acknowledge it in interviews. Not Rodney Bewes. I interviewed him a couple of times and he made a point of saying how fond, and grateful, he was for the the Likely Lads. “People ask if I tire of talking about it. I’d be mad to,” he said.

And, following his death this week, it is - as he knew it would be - how we remember him.

In the classic 1960s comedy, and its follow-up Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, Rodney played Bob Ferris, the working-class bloke in a white collar world; juggling aspirations of middle management with newly-married life in a suburban new-build. Poor beleaguered Bob was caught between home entertaining with social-climber wife Thelma and her hostess trolley, and chewing the fat down the pub with his old mate Terry.

Watching re-runs of the Likely Lads in later years, I was struck by how good it still was. It didn’t matter that Bob didn’t have a North East accent, even though he and Terry were meant to be Geordies - it was just funny.

“It reflected a changing North,” Rodney told me. “People have a lot of affection for it. The DVDs sell well. It was down to the writing of Dick Clement and Ian la Frenais.”

Was it just the writing that made that era of TV comedy so great? Or was it a perfect storm of writing, acting, fresh ideas and a capsule of time that was ripe for new talent and creative thinking? I grew up watching what are now considered to be sitcom classics - Fawlty Towers, The Good Life, Steptoe and Son, Rising Damp, Porridge, Only Fools and Horses. They are of their time, but they also transcend time. I can watch any episode of any of them now and they would still make me laugh.

In later years, shows like One Foot in the Grave, The Office, Father Ted, The IT Crowd and The Vicar of Dibley continued that tradition of great writing and exquisite comic performances that stay with us forever.

I can barely think of any TV comedy of recent times that could be regarded as a classic of the future. With the exception of the excellent Motherland, currently showing on BBC2, there are no British comedies on telly right now that actually make me laugh. I had high hopes for ITV's Bad Move, starring Jack Dee, who gave us the beautifully nuanced Lead Balloon a few years ago. But apart from being woefully unfunny, Bad Move, a sitcom about a city couple re-locating to the countryside, had no credibility. I didn't believe in any of the characters, nor did I care about them.

I think, for a sitcom to have longevity, with a cherished place in popular culture, we have to care about its characters. We rooted for Del Boy and Rodney, Tom and Barbara, Norman Stanley Fletcher and Fathers Ted and Dougal. Even sitcom 'monsters' have an endearing quality. Margo Leadbetter was a dreadful suburban snob, but she had a heart. Basil Fawlty was at the mercy of his shrewish wife. David Brent was sad, deluded and was never going to be one of the big guns.

Like Bob Ferris, they live on in sitcom classics that take us to another age, and still make us laugh out loud.

* ON Saturday night I watched the legendary Ken Dodd in action - for five hours.

The 90-year-old walked onto the Alhambra stage at 6pm and by the time he'd ended his set, singing Happiness with a packed audience, it was almost 11pm.

Doddy’s stand-up gigs are notoriously lengthy - he’s been known to still be on stage after midnight - and he shows no signs of slowing down.

What struck me was that his audience, mostly older people, stayed seated throughout the evening. Barely anyone got up for ‘comfort breaks’, unlike younger audiences who think nothing of leaving their seats and wandering about during a show or film, disturbing everyone-else in the process. A stark contrast in attention spans - and manners.

* UNPAID carers will gather in Bradford tomorrow to discuss issues important to them.

The event, marking National Carers Day, is organised by Carers' Resource which helps more than 13,000 carers districtwide. One of them is Amen Dhesi, who was a child carer for his father. Amen (pictured), who suffered mental health issues, is now a sports coach and involved with groups such as Barnardo's which helped him while growing up.

He's a huge inspiration to young carers, an often hidden and complex strata of society.