Actor Bill Treacher who played Arthur Fowler in EastEnders dies at 92

Bill Treacher, who played Arthur Fowler in EastEnders, has died at the age of 92.

He was one of the BBC soap's original cast members and appeared from 1985 until 1996.

Mr Treacher died late on Saturday night after suffering declining health for some time, his family said.

A statement from his family said: "The family of the actor Bill Treacher are sad to announce that Bill died late Saturday night, 5 November 2022.

"He was 92 years old and his health had been declining for some time. He was much loved by his wife, Kate, his son, Jamie and his daughter, Sophie.

"Bill was a brilliant actor and a wonderful husband and father, plus a very fine human being. He will be hugely missed.

"The family respectfully request privacy at this time."

Mr Treacher was married to Australian actress Katherine Kessey and the couple had two children.

In 2015, he said he had been diagnosed with ataxia, a disorder which can affect co-ordination, balance and speech.

He appeared on the soap from when it started in 1985 until 1996 when his character was killed off after getting into a fight in his allotment.

After EastEnders he had roles in The Bill and Casualty, as well as films including George and The Dragon (2004), The Musketeer (2001) and Tale of the Mummy (1998).

'A wonderful, wonderful man'

Former cast members paid tribute to the star, with Gillian Taylforth who played Kathy Beale in EastEnders, saying: "I have so many happy memories of Bill, in fact we were only sharing stories of him at work the other day, about how he always had a sparkle in his eyes, usually before he mischievously set us off laughing during scenes.

"Bill was a wonderful, wonderful man who will be truly missed and I am sending all our love to his wife Kate and his family."

Letitia Dean, another original cast member who played Sharon Watts, said: "Bill really was the life and soul of the set, he was an absolute joy to be around and always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.

"As an actor, Bill was meticulous and he went to great lengths to portray Arthur, from the smallest scenes to the heartbreaking stories.

"Bill was an utter professional, a wonderful man and he will be greatly missed. I'm sending all my love to his family."

Todd Carty, who played the Fowlers' eldest son Mark, said: "I'm so sorry to hear about Bill passing, I absolutely loved working with him. He was not only an amazing actor but a kind and sincere man.

"My thoughts are with his family at this time. He'll be sadly missed, I will never forget him. May he rest in peace."

'Thank you for the memories'

A spokeswoman for EastEnders said: "It is with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of Bill Treacher.

"As one of our original cast members, Bill created a much-loved character in Arthur Fowler and, alongside Wendy Richard, they created an iconic family in the Fowlers, who still remain at the heart of the show.

"Bill left EastEnders in 1996, so it is a true testament to both he and the character that he created in Arthur that he is still thought of so fondly.

"Bill will always be remembered for his charm, sense of humour - with a smile that lit up the room - and more importantly as a family man who was devoted to his wife and children.

"Bill will forever be held in great affection by everyone at EastEnders and all those that loved watching him. Rest in peace Bill and thank you for the memories."