Names on the buses

648 Jimmy Edwards

Connections with Brighton and Hove : One of Britain’s most popular comedians after the Second World War, Jimmy Edwards had a long association with Sussex. He farmed at Fletching and between 1951 and 1953 he had a cottage in Rottingdean. Edwards, whose real name was James O’Neill, was born in 1920 and later performed in the Cambridge University Footlights Review. He served as a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF during the war, winning the DFC. His Dakota was shot down at Arnhem in 1944. He had plastic surgery and hid it with a huge handlebar moustache which became his trademark. Edwards played comic characters in radio and television series and also made films with less success. One of the best known was Mr Glum in the popular radio series Take It from Here. He was also adept at playing a headmaster in the TV programme Whacko! Edwards also topped the bill at the London Palladium and had a large following but his blustering characters now seem dated. No one would have suspected from watching his portrayals that he was gay, but he had to hide that fact for much of his life because of the law. In 1958 he proposed: 'This House Regrets That the Age of Chivalry Has Passed' at an Oxford Union Debate. He also stood for Parliament in Paddington for the Conservatives at a general election but lost Edwards also liked fox hunting, a pastime he indulged in a lot while living in Rottingdean. During his later years as a comedian, he became known for appearing in Does the Team Think? a radio panel game which was apparently not scripted. He died in 1988.

648 - Scania Omnidekka carried name since March 2005 on Coaster 12. Repainted into Metro 49 livery October 2009. Metro 49 branding removed August 2012.