09/06/2021 14:36 BST

Ben Roberts, The Bill Actor, Dies Aged 70

He was known for appearing as Chief Inspector Derek Conway for 14 years in the now-defunct police drama.

The Bill star Ben Roberts has died aged 70, his agent has confirmed.

The British actor was best known for playing Chief Inspector Derek Conway on the ITV police serial between 1987 to 2002.

Ben died on Monday. No cause of death has been given at this time. 

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Ben Roberts as Chief Inspector Conway, pictured in 1999

Lizanne Crowther Management (LCM), who represented Ben until he stopped working, confirmed his death to the PA news agency.

A statement from LCM on Twitter said: “Remembering the wonderful Ben Roberts who sadly passed away on Monday.

“Best known as Chief Inspector Derek Conway in The Bill & he had an extensive career in theatre, TV & film. Our thoughts are with his wife Helen & family at this time.”

Ben played the dogged and career-focused officer for 14 years until his character was killed in a car bomb attack as part of a cast revamp by new producer Paul Marquess.

The actor later moved into film and appeared in features by Tim Burton and James Bond director Cary Fukunaga.

In 2011, he played Briggs in Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre and in 2014 played Jean in A Little Chaos, directed by Alan Rickman.

He also appeared in Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, directed by Tim Burton, in 2016.

Ben’s other credits included the crime drama The Professionals, the kids’ TV series The Queen’s Nose, as well as a minor role in Doctor Who in 1984.

His former The Bill co-star Ben Peyton was among those who paid tribute, describing him as a “legend”. 

He tweeted: “So sad to hear about the brilliant Ben Roberts. Superb actor and an absolutely hilarious man.

“We were both axed from The Bill on the same day back in 2001. He came to my dressing room and said, ‘They made a mistake with our names. You were supposed to be sacked twice!’ #legend (sic).”

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