Michael Jayston: Dr Who and Only Fools and Horses star dies aged 88

Only Fools and Horses star Michael Jayston has died aged 88 after a "short illness," his agent has confirmed.

In a statement, M&M Famous Faces said on Monday: "It is with great sadness, that I have been asked by his family to share the news, Michael Jayston sadly passed away this morning after a short illness. Those who knew Michael will know he was full of love, laughs and happiness. He adored meeting his fans all over the world.

“His family and friends would appreciate privacy at this time.”

The Nottingham-born actor is known for playing the father of Rachel Turner in the classic BBC hit sitcom.

He appeared in the 1996 episode Time on Our Hands, where Del Boy (Sir David Jason) and Rodney Trotter (Nicholas Lyndhurst) get their big break at an auction.Jayston also had a main role in the historical film Nicholas and Alexandra about the last days of the Tsars in Russia and the relationship between Nicholas II of Russia and his wife (played by Janet Suzman).

Michael Jayston pictured in ITV soap Emmerdale (PUBLICITY PICTURE)
Michael Jayston pictured in ITV soap Emmerdale (PUBLICITY PICTURE)

Doctor Who fans will know him as Valeyard, whom he portrayed for fourteen episodes of the long-running sci-fi series in 1986 opposite Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor.Other onscreen acting credits included EastEnders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and more.

Jayston began his stage career in 1962 and performed at the Bristol Old Vic and at Stratford-upon-Avon. He starred as Captain Von Trapp in the 1981 stage revival of The Sound of Music at the Apollo Victoria in London alongside Petula Clark who played the role of Maria.

In 1990, he played the role of Ian Fleming's James Bond in a BBC Radio 4 adaptation of You Only Live Twice.

He was married three times and is survived by third wife Ann Smithson, whom he wed in 1979 and shared daughter Katherine and son Richard.