Windsor Davies: It Ain't Half Hot Mum actor dies aged 88

Actor Windsor Davies, who starred in the popular sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum and two Carry On films, has died at the age of 88.

His daughter Jane, one of his five children, announced his death, just four months after his wife of 62 years, Eluned, passed away.

"The actor Windsor Davies died peacefully on 17 January 2019," a statement said.

"His wife of 62 years, Eluned, passed away in September. They leave a large and very close family who will all remember them with love, laughter and gratitude."

The British star played the role of Battery Sergeant Major Williams in It Ain't Half Hot Mum, which followed the adventures of a Royal Artillery Concert Party and was broadcast on the BBC between 1974 and 1981.

His character - a no-nonsense platoon leader - had a love-hate relationship with the theatrical troupe and became known for barking: "Shut up!" while also calling them "lovely boys".

Before securing his most famous part he had appeared in an episode of Doctor Who in 1967, and would later play a starring role in Carry On Behind in 1975, Carry On England in 1976, and rugby comedy Grand Slam in 1978.

Davies also enjoyed a decade-long stint as the antiques dealer Oliver Smallbridge in another sitcom, Never The Twain, which aired from 1981 to 1991.

Melvyn Hayes, Davies' co-star in It Ain't Half Hot Mum, told Sky News: "He was one of the good guys - a lovely, lovely, lovely man. He was fabulous, and nothing like the character of the sergeant major.

"He was a softly spoken, gentle man, who was very generous, very kind, and I was thrilled to work with him.

"Windsor took hold of that character and made it his own. I remember him saying when the first episode went out, he was with his son down at a local football match in Wales, and suddenly heard people shouting out, 'Come on my lovely boys, come on my lovely boys!'

"And he said then he knew we had a success on our hands."

Stars of other beloved British comedy shows have paid tribute, including Allo Allo actress Vicki Michelle and Blackadder favourite Tony Robinson.

Michelle said on Twitter: "So so sad to hear about Windsor Davies one of my favourite people.

"A genuinely lovely generous man. Such fond memories of working with him. Had a huge presence and a huge heart.

"Will be missed by all who knew him."

Robinson referenced the number one hit Whispering Grass in his message - the novelty song Davies recorded alongside another It Ain't Half Hot Mum co-star Don Estelle.

It was one of the best-selling duets of all-time in the UK charts.

Robinson tweeted: "'Whispering grass don't tell them who kissed there long ago. Why tell them all your secrets, the trees don't have to know.'

"Whispering Grass. UK No1 with Don Estelle 1975. RIP Windsor Davies."

Comedian Hal Cruttenden added: "I got this man's autograph at Twickenham when me and my dad ran into him at a rugby match in about 1980.

"In my programme, amongst all the rugby players autographs, he's written, 'To Hal 'lovely boy' Windsor Davies'. Still treasure it."

Davies had retired from acting and lived in France, with his last TV role having come in an episode of My Family in 2004.

In the decade prior he had made a one-off appearance in the medical drama Casualty and enjoyed several shows alongside famous glove puppet Sooty the bear.