2017-08-04 04:32:25 UTC
Hywel Bennett, best known as Shelley in hit sitcom, has died aged 73
Actor played the ‘professional freelance layabout’ for five years from 1979, while recent roles included gangland boss Jack Dalton in EastEnders
Thursday 3 August 2017 14.34 EDT
Last modified on Thursday 3 August 2017 17.00 EDT
The actor Hywel Bennett, best known for his role in the hit 1980s sitcom Shelley, has died at the age of 73, his former agent has confirmed.
Bennett, who played James Shelley in the series about a “professional freelance layabout”, rose to fame in the 1960s, first appearing as Rynian in Doctor Who in 1965.
The next two decades saw the Carmarthenshire-born actor take roles in shows including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Sweeney and Malice Aforethought, before becoming the familiar face of the hit sitcom that ran for five years from 1979. It made a four-year comeback in 1988 with The Return of Shelley.
More recent viewers will recognise Bennett from his five-year stint as Peter Baxter in police drama The Bill, while soap fans will remember his 2003 appearance as gangland boss Jack Dalton in EastEnders.
He also featured in episodes of Last of the Summer Wine and in the Dennis Potter mini-series Karaoke and Cold Lazarus.
After a long career in theatre and film, his last known role was as Reggie Conway in The Last Detective in 2007.
On his stage debut in 1959 he played the female lead Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, while his big screen credits include The Virgin Soldiers (1969), Anyone For Sex? (1973), A Mind To Kill (1991) and Nasty Neighbours (1999).
In 1970 he married the TV presenter Cathy McGowan – now partner of singer Michael Ball – and the pair had a daughter together before separating in 1988.