Boys from the Blackstuff star Bernard Hill dies at age of 79

Bernard Hill as Yosser Hughes in Boys From The Blackstuff
Bernard Hill as Yosser Hughes in Boys From The Blackstuff -Credit:BBC Picture publicity

Actor Bernard Hill has died at the age of 79.

Mr Hill was best known for his role as Yosser Hughes in Alan Bleasdale's seminal TV drama 'Boys from the Blackstuff'. Tarmac layer Yosser, famous for his catchphrases of "Gizza job" and "I can do that", came to define the economic struggles facing Liverpool in the 1980s.

Mr Hill was born in Manchester in December 1944. His agent Lou Coulson Associates confirmed to the ECHO that Mr Hill died in the early hours of this morning (May 5).

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READ MORE: Boys From The Blackstuff: a look back at the Liverpool drama which captured the mood of a nation

The actor also starred in 'Shirley Valentine', written by Willy Russell. His career 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'.

The news of the actor's death comes 24 hours after it was announced he was unable to attend Comic Con in Liverpool.

In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, Comic Con Liverpool said: "We’re heartbroken to hear the news of Bernard Hill’s passing. A great loss. Thinking of his family at this very sad time, and wishing them a lot of strength."

Mr Hill is also a cast member of the second series of 'The Responder', written by Liverpudlian Tony Schumacher. The first episode airs on BBC One tonight.

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."

A spokesperson for Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre said: "We are saddened to hear of the death of Bernard Hill. An incredible actor and one forever tied to Liverpool through Yosser Hughes. Bernard shared a beautiful story about seeing Boys from the Blackstuff when he was filming The Responder, but in truth, if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t be showing this on the stage. In creating an iconic, unforgettable performance in Yosser Hughes, Bernard created a legend, an image and identity so close to that of Liverpool and our history."

Barry Sloane, who plays Yosser Hughes in the recent stage production of Boys from the Blackstuff, said: “He was a true inspiration, his performance as Yosser touched the hearts of a nation, he bared his soul for us. He is the bedrock on which Yosser stands. I dedicate all future performances to Bernard. Sending much love to his family.”

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