Actor Tony Scannell, who played DS Ted Roach in ITV police drama The Bill, has died at the age of 74.
Scannell played the character for nine years in the 1980s and 90s.
He was originally only meant to be in two episodes, but impressed the show’s producers and went on to become a much-loved character.
He also featured in Flash Gordon, Evil Never Dies and Waking The Dead. His partner Agnes Lillis confirmed the news to the BBC.
Katy Manning, who played Jon Pertwee’s Doctor Who companion Jo Grant in the 1970s, paid tribute to Scannell as a “wonderful actor”.
The Cork-born star served in the RAF before turning to acting, landing a role in the 1980 film Flash Gordon, as an officer alongside Max von Sydow’s Ming the Merciless.
“Just standing next to him scared the pants off me,” Scannell once said.
He made his debut as Ted Roach in The Bill in 1984. “He looked after himself, old people and the very young; the rest had better beware – that’s how I played him,” said Scannell.
He was declared bankrupt in 2002 but his career continued the year after, this time treading the boards in a production of the thriller Wait Until Dark at the Garrick Theatre in London.
Agnes Lillis told BBC News: “Tony was the big love of my life. We’d been together a long, long time, and we grew closer and closer.
“Our relationship had many different lives, and he had many different lives in the sense of character transformations. He was very mellow and considerate.”
Scannell is survived by Lillis, three adult children, two brothers and two sisters.