Doctor Who and Emmerdale star Richard Franklin dies aged 87 on Christmas Day

Richard Franklin.

Doctor Who and Emmerdale star Richard Franklin has died at the age of 87 on Christmas Day.

The actor played Captain Mike Yates in Doctor Who between 1971 and 1983 - first appearing in the eighth season of the long-running BBC series.

He was also known for playing businessman Denis Rigg in British soap Emmerdale from 1988 to 1989.

Franklin "died in his sleep after fighting long-term illness", his family said in a statement.

They said: “We are deeply saddened by his loss, we will fondly remember him for his generosity, creative spirit and fantastic story telling.

“He is also well remembered outside the family for his long-running career in TV and theatre where he delighted audiences of all ages.

“This gave him great joy and we know his legacy will last.”

Franklin also appeared in TV mini series Little Women, sci-fi series Blake’s 7 and the 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Liam Rudden, who had been given his first professional acting job by the stage and screen star, announced Franklin's death when he posted to the late TV star’s social media page on Monday.

On X, formerly Twitter, he wrote: “It is with great sadness, that the family of Richard Franklin have asked me to share news of his passing, early this morning.

“Richard passed away peacefully in his sleep. Details of funeral arrangements will be shared here when announced.

“Sleep well Richard. #RIP – Liam Rudden.”

In his own social media account, he said he was “devastated”, adding: “Farewell to a mentor and friend.”

Katy Manning, who starred as the Doctor’s companion Jo Grant on the show about aliens and time travel, also paid tribute.

On X, she said: “Our wonderful brave captain Yates #RichardFranklin has gone on his awfully big adventure I’m so very grateful I saw him on Friday.”

She added: “My thoughts are with his family.”

Franklin graduated from the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) in 1965 with an acting diploma and went on to star in many plays.

Franklin was also a voice actor and reprised his Doctor Who role for Big Finish Productions, which who paid tribute to the actor following his death.

On X, it said: “Everyone at Big Finish is greatly saddened to learn that Richard Franklin passed away earlier today. Our deepest condolences to all who knew and loved him. #RIP.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know