Harry Potter actor Robert Hardy dies aged 91

Robert Hardy, who starred in the Harry Potter films and in All Creatures Great And Small, has died aged 91.

A statement by his family hailed a "tremendous life" and "a giant career in theatre, television and film spanning more than 70 years".

Hardy, who was twice nominated for a BAFTA, was one of the country's most prolific character actors.

Known to younger audiences for his role as Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter series, Hardy became a household name as Siegfried Farnon in the long-running BBC series All Creatures Great And Small.

His other TV credits include shows such as Middlemarch and Little Dorrit.

Hardy portrayed Winston Churchill on several occasions, most notably in the critically acclaimed series Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years in 1981.

One of his earliest TV jobs in 1955 saw him take on Shakespeare - playing Cassio in Othello.

The statement by his children Emma, Justine and Paul added: "Dad is also remembered as a meticulous linguist, a fine artist, a lover of music and a champion of literature, as well as a highly respected historian, and a leading specialist on the longbow.

"He was an essential part of the team that raised the great Tudor warship The Mary Rose.

"Gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified, he is celebrated by all who knew him and loved him, and everyone who enjoyed his work."

The British Film Institute wrote on Twitter that it was "sad" to hear news of Hardy's death.

Hardy was awarded a CBE for his services to acting.

He died at Denville Hall, a retirement home for actors on the outskirts of London.