Ben Roberts, best known for playing Chief Inspector Derek Conway in The Bill, has died, according to his agent.
The actor who starred in the hit ITV drama from 1987 to 2002, is said to have passed away on Monday, aged 70.
Roberts, who is originally from Bangor, in Wales, also appeared in other well-known TV dramas including Doctors and Casualty.
In a statement by LCM Limited, released on Twitter, his agents said: ‘Remembering the wonderful Ben Roberts who sadly passed away on Monday.
Ben Roberts, who starred in the hit ITV drama from 1987 to 2000, is said to have passed away on Monday, aged 70
Roberts, who is originally from Bangor, in Wales, also appeared in other well-known TV dramas including Doctors and Casualty. Pictured: Roberts (right) playing Chief Inspector Conway in The Bill
Ben Roberts featuring as his character Chief Inspector Derek Conway (pictured) with the characters Sooty and Sweep in the TV show ‘Sooty Heights’
Ben Roberts’ TV credits
A Woman’s Place? (1978) – Mark
The Professionals (1980) – CI5 Man
Angels (1980) – Graham
Doctor Who (1984) – Trooper
The Bretts (1987) – Milkman
Hard Cases (1988) – Tom Gregory
Tales of Sherwood Forest (1989) – Malcolm
The Bill (1987-2002) – Chief Inspector Derek Conway
Sooty Heights (2000) – Policeman
The Queen’s Nose (2001) – Sir Cedric Barkhouse
Casualty (2005) – Mike Meller
Fallet – Skandia (TV Movie) (2009) – Will Mesdag
Doctors (2010) – Brian Taylor and 2012 as Dennis Hirst
Casualty (2016) – Isaac Sandison
‘Best known as Chief Inspector Derek Conway in The Bill & he had an extensive career in theatre, TV and film.
‘Our thoughts are with his wife Helen and family at this time.’
Born Bennett Roberts in July 1950, he landed his first proper TV gig in 1978, in the four-part television series ‘A Woman’s Place’ – starring alongside Ralph Bates and Anna Calder-Marshall.
He later landed roles in crime-action drama The Professionals, before playing an extra in Doctor Who in 1984.
It was in 1987 where he landed his best known role, as ‘old-fashioned and straight-talking’ Chief Inspector Derek Conway on ITV crime-drama The Bill.
The dogged officer had a troubled start to life at Sun Hill, being injured in an explosion in an episode in 1990.
Roberts’s character was later moved to the role of Community Liason Officer, before being promoted to Acting Superintendent.
However, after three years in the role, his character was demoted back to Chief Inspector of Operations.
He would play the role for 15 years, making his final appearance in 2002, when his character was killed off in a car bomb attack.
Roberts continued to act and held roles in day-time television, apperining as two different characters in Doctors, once in 2010 and then in 2012.
He also starred as Briggs in Cary Fukunaga’s 2011 romantic-drama Jane Eyre, featuring Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska.
His last major television role was in 2016, when he played Isaac Sandison in medical-drama Casualty.
It was in 1987 where he landed his best known role, as ‘old-fashioned and straight talking’ Chief Inspector Derek Conway on ITV crime-drama The Bill
In 2019 he featured in the Danish biographical film ‘Daniel’ – his last listed acting job.
Roberts was married to the award winning audiobook narrator Helen Lloyd, with whom he lived in Derbyshire.
He leaves behind one son, Joe, and one granddaughter, Elsie.
Today tributes have already flooded in for the actor, with former co-star Ben Peyton called him a ‘superb actor and an absolutely hilarious man’.
Ben added: ‘We were both axed from The Bill on the same day back in 2001.
‘He came to my dressing room and said: ‘They made a mistake with our names. You were supposed to be sacked twice!”
Soap fans also paid tribute on Twitter, with one saying: ‘A true legend and definitely one of the biggest legends in The Bill.
‘He will be sorely missed. Thoughts go out to his friends and family.’
The Bill’s biggest stars: Where are they now?
Trudie Goodwin as Sergeant June Ackland in The Bill
Played: Sergeant June Ackland
From: 1984 to 2007
Latest role: Governor Alison Hayes in the 2019 series Clink
Also played: Georgia Sharma in Emmerdale from 2011 to 2015
Other facts: Married to husband Kit Jackson. The pair are the parents of La Roux lead singer Elly Jackson
Graham Cole played PC Tony Stamp in The Bill
Jeffrey Stewart played PC Reg Hollis in The Bill
Graham Cole OBE
Played: PC Tony Stamp
From: 1984 to 1988 as a recurring character and then as a main character until 2009
Latest role: Charlie in The Lives of Frankie Abbott (2021)
Also: Due to play Group Captain Maynard in the upcoming D-Day drama No Glory
Other facts: Was awarded an OBE in 2010 for his continuing work with charities
Played: PC Reg Hollis
From: 1984 to 2008
Latest role: Frankie in Beyond Fury (2019)
Also: Due to play Professor Taylor in the upcoming Showdown in Durango
Other facts: Appeared in 2009 music video for ‘Black and Blue’ by Swedish musician Miike Snow. In the video he played a reclusive musician with a penchant for creating animatronic performers.
Market Wingett played PC/DC Jim Carver in The Bill
Played: PC/DC Jim Carver
From: 1984 to 2007
Latest role: Bob in Dead Again (2021)
Also: Due to play Slaughterman in the upcoming film Mercy
Other facts: His sister, Fiona Wingett, is a magazine editor and once edited the Sunday Mirror’s magazine Personal. His brother Matthew Wingett, wrote several episodes of The Bill in the 1990s.
Eric Richard played Sgt Bob Cryer in The Bill
Played: Sgt. Bob Cryer
From: 1984 to 2004
Latest role: John in the short film Reconnected (2020)
Also: Played Maurice in two episodes of EastEnders in 2018 and an extra in the 2017 blockbuster Dunkirk
Other facts: His two month-old grandson, Charlie Smith, was tragically named as the youngest known British victim of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. He was sitting with his family at a restaurant when a wave struck.