ENTERTAINMENT
09/07/2020 08:07 BST

John Benfield, Prime Suspect Actor, Dies At The Age Of 68

The actor played Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Kernan in the ITV police drama alongside Dame Helen Mirren.

Prime Suspect actor John Benfield has died at the age of 68.  

The British TV star, whose real name was John Turner, is said to have battled a rare form of cancer and died at the Sobell House Hospice in Oxford on 16 June.  

ITV/Shutterstock
John Benfield as DCS Michael Kernan in Prime Suspect

John’s agents told the Oxford Mail that the actor had always brought “truth and integrity to his roles and was an imposing, strong and rugged figure, with a soul and belief in his craft”.  

The actor was best known for his role as Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Kernan in ITV’s Prime Suspect alongside Dame Helen Mirren.  

ITV/Shutterstock
Helen Mirren (as DCI Jane Tennison), John Benfield (as DSI Michael Kernan) and Craig Fairbrass (as DI Frank Burkin) in Prime Suspect.

The hugely popular police drama, which aired between 1991 and 2006, focused on a no-nonsense female Detective Chief Inspector, Jane Tennison (Mirren) who has to prove herself in a male-dominated profession, with the support of her boss, DCS Mike Kernan (Benfield). 

He appeared in over 70 other TV shows or films throughout his career, including Buster (1988), Beautiful Thing (1996) and the TV shows Doctor Who, Hippies, The Worst Week of My Life and Sharpe’s Revenge.

He is survived by his wife Lilian, son Freddie, and grandson Rex.

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