Actor Derek Fowlds, known to millions for playing Bernard Woolley in Yes Minister, has died at the age of 82.
He also played sergeant-turned-publican Oscar Blaketon in ITV police drama Heartbeat for 18 years, and was “Mr Derek” on the Basil Brush show in the 70s.
The actor died at Royal United Hospital in Bath on Friday morning, after having suffered with pneumonia.
“You couldn’t have met a nicer person ever” said his assistant Helen Bennett.
“He was just a wonderful man and I will miss him terribly.”
She added: “He was the most beloved man to everybody who ever met him, he never had a bad word to say about anybody and he was so well respected, adored by everyone.”
Basil Brush himself said he is “so desperately sad” at the news, describing the late star as “my best friend forever”. Fowlds worked on the BBC children’s television show as a presenter between 1969 and 1973, where he replaced Rodney Bewes.
Piers Morgan described him as “a terrific actor & by all accounts, an incredibly nice man” and Baby Driver director Edgar Wright tweeted his respects , pointing to “a classic scene in British comedy” in which Jim Hacker explains to Sir Humphrey and Bernard the importance of the newspapers and who reads which.
Born in south London, Fowlds trained at Rada before making his West End debut in The Miracle Worker.
He appeared in several films, including Hotel Paradiso, and then TV shows including Z Cars in 1968 and a couple of episodes of the Liver Birds between 1969 and 1971.
Fowlds was the last of the remaining original Yes Minister stars, following the earlier deaths of Sir Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington, who he appeared alongside in the BBC political satire from 1980 to 1984, and in Yes, Prime Minister from 1986 to 1988.