Derek Fowlds dead: Yes, Prime Minister and Basil Brush star dies aged 82

Katie Rosseinsky

Yes Minister star Derek Fowlds has died at the age of 82, his family has confirmed.

The British actor was best known for playing Bernard Woolley in the hit political comedy.

He also starred as Oscar Blaketon in ITV police drama Heartbeat for 18 years.

Fowlds died at Royal United Hospitals Bath in the early hours of Friday (January 17) morning after suffering from pneumonia that led to heart failure caused by sepsis.

Fowlds (left) with Sir Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington in Yes Minister (PA)

He was surrounded by his family when he died and is survived by sons Jamie and Jeremy.

Helen Bennett, his personal assistant and long-time friend, told PA: "He was the most beloved man to everybody who ever met him, he never had a bad word to say about anybody and he was so well respected, adored by everyone.

"You couldn't have met a nicer person ever, he was just a wonderful man and I will miss him terribly."

Fowlds (top left) with the cast of Heartbeat in 1996 (PA)

Born in London in 1937, Fowlds trained at RADA and went on to appear in films including Hotel Paradiso, Tamahine and East of Sudan throughout the 60s.

He also starred in TV series including Z Cars, The Liver Birds and ITV Sunday Night Theatre, and found fame with a younger audience as Mr Derek on The Basil Brush Show.

Fowlds joined the children's programme in 1969, replacing Rodney Bewes as the presenter, and appeared alongside the glove puppet fox until 1973.

He joined Yes Minister in 1984 alongside Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne and appeared in the series for four years. He later reprised the role of Woolley for the sequel Yes, Prime Minister from 1986 until 1988.

He joined Heartbeat in 1992 and stayed on the show for its entire 18 series run until it was cancelled in 2010.

The actor was married to actress Wendy Tory from 1963 to 1973 and to Blue Peter presenter Lesley Judd from 1974 to 1978.

​With additional reporting by Press Association.