Heartbeat and Yes Minister star Derek Fowlds dies, aged 82

Yes Minister and Heartbeat star Derek Fowlds has died at the age of 82, his family has said.

Fowlds, who also played Mr Derek on the Basil Brush Show, was RADA-trained and appeared on stage and in film.

But it was for the harassed and impressionable young civil servant Bernard Woolley under the scheming Sir Humphrey Appleby (played by Nigel Hawthorne) that he made his name to millions of Britons.

He went on to star as police officer Oscar Blaketon in ITV's Heartbeat, a role he played for 18 years.

The actor died at Royal United Hospitals Bath in the early hours of Friday after suffering from pneumonia that led to heart failure caused by sepsis.

He was surrounded by his family when he died and is survived by sons Jamie and Jeremy.

Left to right, Derek Fowlds, Sir Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington in Yes, Minister. Credit: BBC

Helen Bennett, his personal assistant and friend of many years, told the PA news agency: "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.

"You couldn't have met a nicer person ever, he was just a wonderful man and I will miss him terribly."

Derek Fowlds with the cast of Heartbeat in 1996. Credit: PA

The Basil Brush Twitter account paid tribute to the seasoned actor, describing him as "my best friend ever".

Fowlds made his West End debut in The Miracle Worker before roles in films such as Tamahine, East Of Sudan and Hotel Paradiso and TV series including Z Cars, The Liver Birds and ITV Sunday Night Theatre.

He also appeared in After That, This for a string of episodes in 1975.

He starred in Yes Minister opposite Sir Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington from 1980 to 1984 before the sequel Yes, Prime Minister ran from 1986 to 1988.