Heartbeat actor Peter Benson has died aged 75 after a short illness, his agent has confirmed.
Benson was best known for playing the funeral director Bernie Scripps in the long-running ITV police drama. He appeared in all of the show’s 18 series during its run from 1992 to 2010.
He also played Henry VII in the BBC comedy Blackadder and most recently appeared in two episodes of hospital drama Casualty.
As well as appearing on television, Benson was a highly-skilled singer and dancer and an accomplished theatre actor.
Along with Heartbeat co-star Bill Maynard, he starred in a production of Trinity Tales in 1977. He later portrayed the title role in Shakespeare’s Henry VI in a BBC television adaption of the play in 1983.
Many of Benson’s former Heartbeat co-stars have paid tribute, including Steven Blakeley, who played Pc Geoff Younger. “Farewell Peter Benson,” he said. ”You made me laugh so much. There’ll never be another like you – talented, kind and gentle in equal measure. Bless you and rest well sir.”
Lisa Kay, who played the character Emma Bryden on the show, wrote on Twitter: “Such sad news that the wonderful Peter Benson has passed away.
“He was always a total gentleman and great fun to work with. He was dearly loved and shall be missed terribly by his Heartbeat family. RIP Peter.”
Fiona Dolman, who played Jackie Bradley, added: “What sad news. Peter Benson was one of the best. Kind, funny, brilliant, gentle and deliciously sarcastic. He was an absolute joy to work with and will be missed by so many.”
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