Amanda Redman has revealed she was hit hard by the death of her lifelong friend Dennis Waterman earlier this year, saying she can't "really accept he’s not here anymore".
The 64-year-old star was close with Waterman for decades and worked with him across 10 series of the BBC police procedural drama New Tricks between 2003 and 2013.
So when the star passed away in May after a mostly secret battle with lung cancer, Redman was hit hard by the news and released a statement via her daughter.
Speaking now, several months later, she told the Mirror that the news "knocked me sideways" as it was not widely known that Waterman was seriously ill.
Redman said: "His wife phoned me. It was incredibly difficult. I was very lucky because my daughter was staying with me at that point. So thank god she was there.
"But, the following day, I had a memorial service of another very, very close friend and I had to make a speech. That was a tricky weekend, I have to say. Hard."
Redman recounted all-night karaoke sessions with Waterman and his wife, declaring the Minder actor to be "one of the loveliest men I have ever known in my life".
She added: "He was incredibly kind and incredibly generous. He was a gentleman through and through. And not just a wonderful friend, but also a fantastic colleague as well – to everybody.
"He was great to everyone. He really was one of the top blokes. A team player."
While making New Tricks, Redman and Waterman formed a "joyous" bond with the other leads James Bolam and Alun Armstrong.
She said: "It was an incredibly close-knit bunch, the four of us. We were so close. We never disagreed about things. We never rowed. We all agreed with each other over everything and laughed and laughed and laughed every single day."
Bolam left the cast of New Tricks after the ninth series, while Armstrong and Redman said farewell at the end of series 10 and Waterman stuck around for the final two series.
Waterman's final acting role was in the 2020 Australian romcom Never Too Late.
Watch: Stars pay tribute to screen icon Dennis Waterman