Derek Fowlds dead: Heartbeat and Yes Minister star dies surrounded by family age 82

The family of actor Derek Fowlds have confirmed he has sadly died at the age of 82. He will forever be remembered for playing Bernard Woolley in Yes Minister.

He was also known for sergeant Oscar Blaketon, who later took over the local pub, in ITV police drama Heartbeat –  a part he portrayed for nearly two decades.

Derek played the much-loved role for the show’s entire run, which came to an end in 2010.

The star also popped up in no less than eight seasons of The Basil Brush Show and Affairs of the Heart.

He was previously married to Wendy Tory (1963-1973) and Blue Peter presenter and dancer, Lesley Judd (1974-1978).


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Derek leaves behind two children – one of whom is the actor Jeremy Fowlds.

He reportedly died at the Royal United Hospitals Bath in the early hours, after suffering from pneumonia that led to heart failure caused by sepsis.

The star is said to have been surrounded by his family.

Personal assistant and friend, Helen Bennett, said: “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.”

The former apprentice printer got the acting bug after joining a Royal Air Force theatre group while doing his national service in Malta.

After learning his craft at RADA, Derek made his acting debut in the West End in The Miracle Worker.

He went on to land his first TV and film roles in the early 1960s, in the likes of Tamahine and Doctor in Distress.

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His big break came thanks to Yes Minister opposite Sir Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington, which ran from from 1980 to 1984.

He went on to star in the sequel Yes, Prime Minister, which aired between 1986 and 1988.

Derek’s credits also include Z Cars, The Liver Birds and ITV Sunday Night Theatre.

His most recent role was around three years ago in Doctors.


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Five years ago he released his autobiography A Part Worth Playing.

Twitter has been inundated with tributes since the news emerged, with the official Basil Brush account writing: “I don’t know what to say, I’m so desperately sad.

“Such times we had, rest in peace Mr Derek, my best friend forever #DerekFowlds #BasilBrushshow>’

Actor Stuart Anthony posted: “RIP Derek Fowlds who has died at the age of 82. A TV Legend and one of the nicest guys in the business. What a sad day.”

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