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  1. ITV Report

Heartbeat actor Derek Fowlds dies, aged 82

Derek Fowlds, far let, with the cast of Heartbeat Credit: PA

Heartbeat actor Derek Fowlds, who played crotchety sergeant Oscar Blaketon in the ITV police drama for 18 years, has died, aged 82.

He was also well known for playing Private Secretary Bernard Woolley in the sitcom Yes Minister and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister. Before that, he found fame with children as Mr Derek on The Basil Brush Show, alongside the glove puppet fox with the catchphrase "boom boom!", from 1969 to 1973, replacing Rodney Bewes as the presenter.

During his long association with Heartbeat, Derek placed Sergeant Blaketon with a particular loathing for Claude Greengrass, whom he was perpetually trying to put behind bars.

Often appearing cynical, suspicious and bad-tempered and very serious and hard, he mellowed somewhat with age. His softer side was occasionally apparent, and at various times he was a voice of wisdom or shoulder to cry on for younger policemen facing moral dilemmas or personal traumas.

On the set of Hearbeat in Goathland, North Yorkshire Credit: PA

The actor died at Royal United Hospitals Bath 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.

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 at funeral of 'Yes Minister' co-start Sir Nigel Hawthorne in 2002