Heartbeat actor William Simons has died aged 79.

The Welshman, full name Clifford William Cumberbatch Simons, played PC Alf Ventress in all 18 series of the ITV police drama between 1992 and 2010.

In a statement confirming his death, his agent said: "He was a wonderful, kind, warm, witty, lovely human being and anyone who ever worked with him or knew him will be devastated."

PC Ventress was known for his cantankerous personality and continued to appear in the show as a civilian even after retiring from the force.

Simons also appeared in Emmerdale in 1976 and Coronation Street between 1972 and 1987.

A 60-year acting career saw him play Patrick Malahide's sidekick in the BBC's The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries.

He also took roles in Last Of The Summer Wine, Bergerac and The Darling Buds Of May, among other series.