Brush Strokes was a BBC sitcom which first aired in 1986, and I personally remember enjoying watching it whilst doing my homework. Â Perhaps having the TV was the reason it always took me so long to write about Ox Bow Lakes or the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand?
The programme was primarily about a painter named Jacko, played by Karl Howman. Â Jacko was a bit of a ladies man, but really you got the impression he really wanted to settle down with someone, but was afraid to do so, and was basically being told as much all the time by his co-worker and brother-in-law Eric.
Jacko and Eric worked for Lionel Bainbridge (played by Gary Waldhorn, who is now probably better known as David Horton in The Vicar of Dibley), and Jacko was dating his daughter Lesley. Â Lionel’s wife Veronica also had a bit of a crush on Jacko, despite being old enough to be his mother.
Another of Jacko’s love interests was Sandra, the secretary at Bainbridge’s, and indeed he even got engaged to her during the second series, but this relationship eventually fell apart.
As the series progressed Jacko decided to go it alone with his own painting company called Splosh! Â Unfortunately for Jacko this didn’t work out, and he ended up having to go back to work for Veronica Bainbridge, who had taken over the running of Lionel’s business when he died suddenly.
For me though, the star of the show was Elmo Putney (Howard Lew Lewis). Â Elmo started off as the landlord of the Jacko’s local pub, but unfortunately he was a bit slow on the uptake and often completely misunderstood whatever was going on around him. Â In later series Elmo went up in the world when his dog (who you never saw) discovered opals in Australia. Â With his new found wealth he opened a wine bar, which he named with great imagination as Elmo Putney’s Wine Bar. Â It was decked out from top to toe in pink, so it looked quite a sight.
Brush Strokes also featured a very memorable theme tune by Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners. Â Called “Because of You“. it was released as a single in 1986 and reached number 13 in the UK charts.
To finish, I want to go back to the wonderful Elmo. Â In 1988 Howard Lew Lewis got a role in the Channel 4 sitcom Chelmsford 123. Â Not to say he was being typecast, but other than the fact that this sitcom was set during Roman Britain, Howard’s character Blag must have been the great great great great (etc.) grandfather of Elmo Putney, as the similarities were uncanny!