Heartbeat cast now - from tragic deaths to soap comebacks and career U-turns

A photocall for the television series 'Heartbeat', August 19,1996. From left to right (back row), actors Derek Fowlds, Mark Jordon, Nick Berry, Bill Maynard; (front row)  Tricia Penrose, Juliette Gruber and Kazia Pelka
Heartbeat actors (rear row) Derek Fowlds, Mark Jordon, Nick Berry, Bill Maynard; and (front row) Tricia Penrose, Juliette Gruber and Kazia Pelka -Credit:Colin Davey/Getty Images

It's been over three decades since ITV's much-loved drama Heartbeat first aired. The popular show captured the lives of a group of police officers in a fictional North Riding of Yorkshire town during the vibrant 60s and became a Sunday night TV staple.

However, after 18 years on air, the show was cancelled in 2010. Despite no new episodes being produced for over a decade, Heartbeat remains one of ITV's most treasured dramas, with fans still tuning into the repeats on ITV3, reports the Mirror.

The show was filmed in the charming village of Goathland with Heartbeat serving as a springboard for many acting careers. Several cast members are going on to star in other popular soaps, films, and theatre productions, but what became of many of the beloved cast - including one Leicestershire legend?

READ MORE: ITV1 drama Red Eye with Leicestershire star Richard Armitage is as enjoyable as it is unrealistic

Well, it's time to find out. From heartbreaking losses to soap opera comebacks and career changes, there's been plenty of ups and down for the Heartbeat cast. It's interesting to see what they've been up to since they left the show, so let's see what happened to them in this not-so comprehensive list.

Nick Berry

English actor Nick Berry during a photocall for the television series 'Heartbeat', in which he plays PC Nick Rowan, August 19,1996
Nick Berry as PC Nick Rowan -Credit:Photo by Colin Davey/Getty Images

Nick was already famous for his role as Simon Wicks in the BBC's EastEnders by the time he starred in Heartbeat. He starred in the ITV drama for six years, taking the lead role of PC Nick Rowan.

After leaving the famous dramas, Nick played parts in drama series Harbour Lights and British crime show In Deep. Nick made a nostalgic return to EastEnders in 2012 for a special episode focusing on the demise of his on-screen mother, Pat Evans.

Away from acting, Nick was also a chart-topping pop star. His big hit was "Every Loser Wins" which was released in 1986. Now 61, Nick is married to ex-Levis model, Rachel Robertson, with whom he shares two sons.

Niamh Cusak

Niamh Cusack, actress, circa 1992
Niamh Cusack as Kate Rowan -Credit:Mark Lawrence/TV Times/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Niamh is part of the famed Cusak acting dynasting and is well known for portraying Dr Kate Rowan for three memorable years in Heartbeat.

Kate was PC Rowan's wife and was killed off in 1995 when her character died of leukaemia. It was far from the end of Naimh's career though as she has gone from strength to strength since leaving Heartbeat, bagging roles in Always and Everyone, New Tricks and Silent Witness. More recently credits include Sky's Brassic, ITV's The Tower, and the BBC's Death in Paradise.

Acting is in Naimh's blood, with her sister the famous actress Sinead Cusak who is married to renowned actor Jeremy Irons. Niamh is married to fellow actor Finbar Lynch, with the couple's son Calam one of the stars of Netflix's Bridgerton.

Tricia Penrose

Heartbeat actress Tricia Penrose, circa 2002
Tricia Penrose as Gina Ward -Credit:Photo by Martin Black/TV Times/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Tricia began her Heartbeat stint in its second series as Gina Ward, becoming its longest standing character. She was only initially scheduled to be on Heartbeat for just 12 months, but proved mightily popular with viewers.

The Liverpool-born actor played Gina for nearly 18 years in Heartbeat including two episodes in its spin-off, the hospital-based drama The Royal. Roles in Channel 4's Brookside also feature on Tricia's CV as do appearances in Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

Tricia is no stranger to reality TV in the wake of Heartbeat's demise either. She has taken part in Celebrity Masterchef and the 2013 series of Celebrity Big Brother, while more recently she can be heard presenting on radio.

Jason Durr

.Jason Durr as PC Mike Bradley
Jason Durr as PC Mike Bradley -Credit:PA

Jason took up the role of PC Mike Bradley in 1997 and would remain on the show to 2003. His character initially caused some tension when his Mike arrived from London, but eventually he adapted to the village life.

After leaving Heartbeat, he landed various roles in TV dramas like The Wrong Side of the Rainbow, Mysterious Island and Summer Solstice. In 2016, Durr joined the cast of Casualty as David Hide - a role he reprised in Holby City.

Jason is a proud father-of-three with his wife, TV presenter and gardener Kate Charman. At present, Durr is performing as Colonel Mustard in the new play Cluedo 2.

Bill Maynard

Leicestershire legend Bill Maynard played the loveable scamp Claude Jeremiah Greengrass right from the beginning of the series until 2000. His exit was reportedly due to health issues.

Bill, who grew up in Leicestershire and returned to the county in his later years, went on to reprise his role of Greengrass in Heartbeat spin-off, The Royal. He also starred in the BBC drama, The Moorside in 2017.

Bill suffered with ill health in his later years. He died in Leicestershire in March 2018 at the age of 89.

Mark Jordon

Heartbeat actors Mark Jordon and Jason Durr
Bill Maynard as Claude Greengrass

Mark was known for his role as PC Phil Bellamy from 1992 to 1997 and later portrayed Daz Spencer in Emmerdale from 2014 to 2019. Previously married to Happy Valley star Siobhan Finneran, with whom he has two children.

Mark is now happily wedded to Emmerdale star Laura Norton, with whom he has two more children. Elsewhere, Mark's acting has not stopped, bagging roles in Casualty, Coronation Street and Doctors. A recent spell of theatre work was ended when he returned to TV land for the ITV drama, The Long Shadow.

Derek Fowlds

Derek Fowlds in Heartbeat
Mark Jordon (left) as PC Phil Bellamy with Jason Durr -Credit:Tony Ward/TV Times/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Derek Sgt Oscar Blaketon for the duration of Heartbeat's 18-year run. For the first seven series of Heartbeat, he was a sergeant before a heart attack forced him to retire and take on other jobs, including becoming the owner of the Aidensfield Arms pub.

After the series came to an end, Derek had roles in other TV shows like Casualty and Doctors. Despite effectively retiring from acting after the show ended, he did write his autobiography, A Part Worth Playing in 2015.

Earlier in his career, he was known for his role as Bernard Woolley in Yes Minister, a part he played for four years. Derek died at the age of 82 in January 2020.

William Simons

William Simons as PC Ventress
Derek Fowlds as Blaketon -Credit:YTV

Welsh-born William played PC Alfred Ventress for the entire duration of Heartbeat and was a fan favourite. After his character retired from the force, he continued to appear on the show. Following Heartbeat, Simons landed roles in Casualty, The Bill, The Royal, Coronation Street, and Emmerdale. Sadly, the actor passed away in 2019 at the age of 78.

David Londsale

Madam Blavatsky (Liz Daniels) and David (David Lonsdale) in Heartbeat
William Simons as PC Ventress -Credit:ITV

Southport-born David Lonsdale is best known for his role as David Stockwell in Heartbeat, which he played from 1996 until the show's end in 2010. While many fans remember Greengrass as the comic relief, others will recall David Stockwell as the village's amusing fool.

After Heartbeat, Lonsdale appeared in Casualty, Emmerdale and Vera, and featured in films such as The Real Full Monty and Downton Abbey. The actor has been happily married for over 30 years and is father to three children. In recent years, he has starred in ITV drama including The Bay and Anne.

Clare Wille

Heartbeat actors (L-R) Lisa Kay, Jonathan Kerrigan and Clare Wille, circa October 2006
David Lonsdale (right) as David Stockwell -Credit:Yorkshire Television

Clare portrayed local DS Rachel Dawson, who had a romantic relationship with Joe McFadden's PC Joe Mason. She stayed for the final four years of the programme from 2016 until 2010.

After Heartbeat's end, the Cheshire-born actress later secured a recurring role as Trish Davidson in Coronation Street in 2012. Since her stint on Corrie, she has starred in Victoria, W1A, Vera and Silent Witness. She has also had guest roles in TV shows Defending the Guilty and Shakespeare and Hathaway: Private Investigators. More recently, she joined the cast of Doctors as Davinia Hargrove.

Peter Benson

Greengrass with Gina ( Tricia Penrose) and chum Bernie Scripps (Peter Benson)
Clare Wille (right) as DS Rachel Dawson with Lisa Kay and Jonathan Kerrigan -Credit:Photo by Dan Goldsmith/TV Times/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Peter Benson is remembered for his portrayal of Bernie Scripps in Heartbeat between 1995 and 2010. Bernie was the drama's funeral director and also ran a garage in Aidensfield.

After wrapping up Heartbeat, he went on to have brief appearances in Casualty in 2011 and 2013. You might also recognise him from other shows like A Touch of Frost, The Bill, and Coronation Street, where he took on the recurring role of Mr Murdoch. Peter passed away in September 2018, aged 75.

Nikki Sanderson

Heartbeat actress Nikki Sanderson
Peter Benson (right) with Gina (Tricia Penrose) and Greengrass (Bill Maynard) -Credit:ITV/Yorkshire Television

Nikki was popular character Dawn Bellamy between 2008 and 2009 in Heartbeat, earning high praise from viewers quickly after her arrival. Dawn arrived in Heartbeat after being sent to stay with Gina at the village pub to escape bad company in Manchester.

Nikki started her soap career early as she appeared in Coronation Street as Candice when she was just 13 years old and later joined Hollyoaks as Maxine Minnver - a character she has played since 2012.

Joe McFadden

Joe McFadden in Heartbeat promo
Nikki Sanderson as Dawn Bellamy -Credit:Photo by Matt Frost/TV Times/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Joe made his mark as PC Joe Mason when he joined the Heartbeat cast from 2007 and stayed with the show until its end inl 2010. After his stint on Heartbeat, he featured in popular medical drama Casualty and became a fan favourite in the role of Raffaello 'Raf' di Lucca in Holby City.

In 2017, viewers were smitten as he danced his way to victory with partner Katya Jones on Strictly Come Dancing, taking home the esteemed glitterball trophy. McFadden has also been active in the theatre circuit, entertaining audiences on the UK tour of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and most recently gracing the stage in The Rocky Horror Show.

Geoffrey Hughes

Geoffrey Hughes as Vernon Scripps in Heartbeat, 2001
Joe McFadden as PC Joe Mason -Credit:ITV

Another notable Heartbeat alumnus is Geoffrey Hughes, who played the character of Vernon Scripps. Liverpudlian Hughes was a familiar face to many for his performances as Twiggy in The Royle Family and as Onslow in the BBC's Keeping Up Appearances.

His first breakout role came in the 1970s and 1980s when he portrayed Eddie Yeats, the rubbish collector in Coronation Street. Hughes also lent his voice to the legendary Paul McCartney in the animated film Yellow Submarine earlier in his career. He died in 2012 at the age of 68 after a battle with prostate cancer.