Performer Stan Stennett has died after suffering a stroke two weeks ago. The 88-year-old entertainer will be best known for his television roles in The Black & White Minstrel Show for the BBC and Crossroads for ATV.
However the veteran performer from Cardiff (pictured above centre with Jane Rossington and Steven Pinder from Crossroads) spent most of his life in the theatre, appearing in variety shows and pantomimes over six decades.
Stan, described as ‘Wales’ Premiere Entertainer’, began his career as a jazz musician during the Second World War, after a stint in the Army he became a full-time entertainer working with some of the biggest names in show business over the next six decades.
The 1950’s were some of his most successful years, he had added comedy to his act and had also ventured into performing for BBC Radio. In the 1960s he joined as a regular on BBC variety series The Black & White Minstrel Show he also in February 1961 established Stennett Productions which gave him control of his own theatre ventures. The company continues to operate to date with special events and pantomimes.
He had a brief appearance in Coronation Street in the early 60s and first checked-in to ATV’s Crossroads Motel in 1971 as Harry Silver an American GI on the run, he took a number of the villagers hostage before being busted by the police – it turned out his gun was an imitation toy!
The decade saw Stennett venture into a number of other dramas including Coronation Street where he appeared as Hilda Ogden’s fish shop owning brother Norman Crabtree in 1976 and BBC Play for Today in 1977. Stan returned to Crossroads in 1982 as loveable rogue, and garage mechanic, Sidney Hooper, Sid to his friends. Stan stayed in the role for nearly seven years but quit when new bosses attempted to kill the show off.
In recent times on television he’s appeared in BBC drama Casualty, soap Doctors and comedy Stella for Sky as well as movies such as Plots with a View and Oh Little Town of Bethlehem. He also until recently had a monthly event at St David’s Hall entertaining with his own memories and music show.
Stan was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in 1979 for services to theatre and charity and has been the subject of numerous television tributes including Great Lives by BBC Wales and This Is Your Life by Thames TV. He supported many good causes including a role as a charity director for Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital.
As a tribute to the great entertainer, BBC One Wales is to repeat his 2011 special Great Lives tomorrow night at 11.05pm.
1956: Stan (far right) with Noele Gordon (centre) lark around while rehearsing for ATV’s Lunch Box show.
Stan appears as American Harry Silver in 1971, taking a host of Kings Oak residents hostage in Crossroads.
After Harry was sent to prison Stan popped over to Manchester to appear in Coronation Street.
1976: Stan appears as Norman Crabtree, Fish and Chip shop owner and more importantly brother of regular Hilda Ogden. Pictured with Stan Ogden (actor Bernard Youens).
1982: Stan (front centre) re-joins the cast of Crossroads as a regular.
Sid was originally a short-term character but became so popular with audiences his role was increased.
Sid was the bane of wife Mavis’ life. (with actress Charmian Eyre)
Two comedy legends together: Max Wall as Wally Sopper and Stan as Sid in Crossroads, 1983.
Stan left Crossroads in 1987 following his disapproval of new producer William Smethurst.
However even after leaving he remained a loyal supporter of the soap and with the official ITV fan club for Crossroads and Central Television arranged the 25th anniversary celebrations in 1989.
Stan Stennett hosts one of his monthly nostalgia shows at St David’s Hall Cardiff in 2010, which ATV filmed for the star.
Stan in his home office near Cardiff in 2010. The room full of posters and photographs from a long and successful career.