FOR the late Shaw Taylor, one of the most famous television faces in Britain for many years, whose Police 5 television series ran for 30 years, the Isle of Wight had always featured in his life.

In fact, he spent the last 20 enjoyable years of his long life living in Totland Bay.

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Shaw first came here in the Second World War, when he was stationed on St Boniface Down. From that moment on, he just fell in love with the Isle of Wight.

He went on to serve in Burma before returning to London, where he had been originally working in an office, to think about his future.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Shaw Taylor, centre, in The Hollow.

Suddenly, on a whim, he decided to return to Ventnor and he stayed a few nights at the Crab and Lobster pub.

During that short visit he ran into a few former RAF mates from St Boniface who had formed an acting group called the Gateway Players, who toured the Isle of Wight providing professional entertainment for local venues.

Initially, he worked as a stage manager or a lighting assistant and had no plans to be an actor. That suddenly changed and he began to play parts.

He became an instant hit in Parkhurst Prison. The inmates were on his side when he played the villain in Gaslight. Some were not quite so impressed when his character had to pick a lock. The company also performed at venues like Whitecroft Hospital.

Shaw also met his wife, Jane, in 1947 while staying on the Isle of Wight. They were thrilled to come back many years later to settle here. His love of acting, which had really blossomed with the Gateway Players, led him to a scholarship at RADA.

After successfully losing his cockney accent he left the drama academy and went for an audition for a part in the original London production of The Hollow. He was told he was perfect for the part, but could he do it in a cockney accent? Ironically, for the past two years he’d been trying to get rid of it.

Shaw loved telling the story of how he turned down the offer of being in their next thriller at the theatre.

“They asked me to be in a play called The Mousetrap. I turned it down because I didn’t think it would run for very long,” revealed Shaw, in one of our many interviews. Amazingly it’s still in the West End and has become a worldwide hit.

Shaw shocked his acting friends by deciding to leave the profession and join the exciting the world of television. His thespian pals virtually frowned on this new phenomenon and thought he was quite mad. He more than had the last laugh - and earned much more money.

His near 60-year career in television has been well chronicled but there were some momentous moments.

Police 5 was originally planned for a six-week run as a five-minute filler. In the end it ran for an incredible 30 years and was copied all over the world.

He also accidentally created a catchphrase that became an instant part of the English vocabulary. “Keep ‘em peeled” became such a hit and followed him for the rest of his life.

It was used by London taxi drivers whenever they picked him up and was shouted out by the public wherever he went. It was better than a hit record.

When Shaw was a DJ on Radio Luxembourg he became the first person to ever interview The Beatles. They even called him “Sir”.

Shaw was sent to report from a British Trade Fair in Moscow. Suddenly he found himself almost next to the Russian leader President Khrushchev.

Being such a charmer, he smiled at his PR lady and interpreter and within minutes their impromptu interview was being beamed live across TV screens all over Europe. It was the scoop of a lifetime.

For many years Shaw was a regular sports presenter and commentator on numerous shows. Snooker’s ‘Hurricane’ Higgins was, apparently, not a fan.

Shaw once said:” I understand Higgins was not too impressed with my snooker knowledge. There were rumours of just where he would like to stick his cue — and it would have been painful.”

From the moment Shaw and his wife moved to the Isle of Wight he quickly became involved in local life. After his wife passed away, he shared the last few years of his life with his new partner Shirley Ferrari. They were a popular couple and were regular diners at the George Hotel, Yarmouth, where he was constantly recognised by visitors.

Being a supreme broadcaster Shaw was always keen to pass on his knowledge to help young broadcasters.

I was privileged to attend his Memorial Service at the Covent Garden Actors Church. Many from the television world attended and there were so many wonderful stories revealed. The moment Noel Edmunds caught him out with his Gotcha was enjoyed on a special big screen.

Shaw had such a wicked sense of humour and would have loved his final exit. As the undertaker’s were trying to carry him downstairs, avoiding the tricky stair-lift, the house lights went out, due to a power cut. His partner’s sister was heard to comment: “Trust Shaw to go out with a bang.”

It seemed so fitting that Shaw Taylor spent the last 20 years of his life here on the Isle of Wight. He died on March 17, 2015, at the age of 90.

Love reading stories about life on the Isle of Wight in bygone days? Click here to visit our Looking Back section.