BBC The Responder's Bernard Hill made heartfelt Liverpool admission just days before he died

Bernard Hill spoke about his special connection with Liverpool in an interview earlier this week
Bernard Hill spoke about his special connection with Liverpool in an interview earlier this week -Credit:PA

Tributes have flooded in today after the death of Bernard Hill at the age 79.

The acclaimed actor was renowned for his role as Yosser Hughes in Alan Bleasdale's seminal TV drama 'Boys from the Blackstuff'. He was born in Manchester but his most famous character always made him an honourary Scouser as Yosser came to define the economic struggles facing Liverpool in the 1980s.

Bernard returned to the city in his final TV role in The Responder, which gets underway with its second series on BBC One tonight. In an interview with the BBC earlier this week, Bernard reflected on his special connection with Liverpool as he branded the city his second home.

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He said: "Liverpool is one of my favourite places, I've got a great relationship with the city. I lived there for a long time and my daughter was born there so it's like my second home."

Bernard has adopted the Scouse accent once again to play Tim Carson's dad, Tom in the series. The actor told the BBC how it was easy to slip back into the Liverpudlian dialect as he said: "It'll always be lingering around somewhere. Before I even went to Liverpool, people used to ask me “why are you speaking like a Scouser?” and the answer is I don't know, it wasn’t intentional and I don't know why but something inside me was determined to break into Scouse! And it was very easy for me to do it."

The Responder was filmed in the city last year and Bernard shared an incredible encounter when he went to the Royal Court Theatre to enjoy a show after filming. By chance, it was the same time as James Graham's stage adaptation of Boys from the Blackstuff.

He said: "I went down to the Royal Court Theatre during filming on The Responder and I didn't know what was on so I just went in. The manager came over to where I was sitting and said, 'what are you doing here?'

"I said, “I'm doing a series”, he said, “right, well do you want to come and see the show” and when I looked it was Boys from the Blackstuff. I couldn’t believe it! It's 40 years from when I did Boys from the Blackstuff and there I was back in Liverpool watching it on the stage."

In addition to Boys from the Blackstuff, Bernard enjoyed a legendary career in film and television. His work spanned six decades and he was also known for his role as Théoden, King of Rohan, in 'The Lord of the Rings' film trilogy, as well as Captain Edward Smith in the 1997 smash hit 'Titanic'.

Lindsay Salt, director of BBC Drama, paid tribute to him, saying: "Bernard Hill blazed a trail across the screen, and his long-lasting career filled with iconic and remarkable roles is a testament to his incredible talent."

"From Boys from the Blackstuff, to Wolf Hall, The Responder, and many more, we feel truly honoured to have worked with Bernard at the BBC. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this sad time."

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