The man who made the long-running TV hit Last of the Summer Wine has given his vote of approval to a stone tribute to Compo, its most iconic character.

Alan J.W. Bell, who directed 250 episodes of the series between 1981 and 2010, paid tribute to those behind the project. He said it was a salute to Compo, alias actor Bill Owen, the show, the countryside and the village of Holmfirth.

“I am pleased to see that Bill Owen is to be so remembered as the scruffy Compo,” said Mr Bell from his home in London.

“Not only [was he] a fine actor, but a connoisseur of the hills and valleys of West Yorkshire. To me, it reminds me the superb countryside that became the real star of Last of the Summer Wine, and how much the success of that programme depended upon Bill Owen - a Londoner - but a Londoner with a passion for all things Yorkshire.”

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He added: “It is well known that Bill would give up all his free time to support the villagers in raising funds for good causes. Nothing would too much trouble for him.”

Opinion on the stone plinth, known as a stele, has been mixed. One Examiner reader said the carving was closer to Jeffrey Archer’s features than Compo’s.

Mr Bell, 79, said it represented the man he knew.

“A remembrance of Bill Owen in Yorkshire stone would seem to me to be highly appropriate. Far better than a Disney-style dummy. I must say that I expected something less tasteful.”

Compo stone carving at Johnson's Wellfield Quarries, Crosland Moor, Huddersfield.

Following Bill Owen’s death in July 1999 in the region of £8,000 was raised by fans to pay for a statue or bust in his memory. The 9ft-high upright stone slab is of hard Yorkstone quarried at Crosland Moor by Johnsons Wellfield Quarries.

Is it Compo or Jeffrey Archer? Here's what Examiner readers think of TV icon's tribute in stone

It is hoped that the piece will be given pride of place in a prominent location within Holmfirth. A meeting is scheduled to take place before Christmas to finalise a site.

Bill Owen’s son, Tom, 67, also an actor, has spoken of his frustration at the lengthy delay in seeing the project come to fruition.

Bill Owen was one of the original cast members of Last of the Summer Wine. He went on to star in 185 episodes. Perhaps the most poignant was Last Post and Pigeon, which was aired six months after his death from cancer, aged 85.