Heartbeat Actor William Simons Has Died Aged 78
The actor William Simons has died aged 78.
Simons was best-known for playing PC Alf Ventress in all 18 series of the ITV show Heartbeat, which ran from 1992 to 2010.
His agent, Bryn Newton, told The Sun: "He'll be just terribly missed by anyone who ever met him.
"He was a much loved human, the word gentleman really applied to him. He was a gentle man.
"He worked every single year until about three years ago."
Simons career spanned 60 years, during which period he also played parts in Coronation Street, The Sweeney, Last of the Summer Wine and Minder. However, it was undoubtedly his role as PC Alf Ventress for which he will primarily be remembered.
The drama revolved around a 1960s Yorkshire police force and his character tended to be quite irritable, typically puffing a cigarette in most scenes - though Simons didn't smoke in real life.
His character was eventually forced to retire from the police, but returned as a civilian member of the team.
Tributes to the actor have been flooding in on social media:
Saddened to hear that William Simons has died who played Mandrel in The Sun Makers. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/1ftTbZQRPj- DW On This Day (@DWOnThisDay) June 22, 2019
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William Simons RIP what a charming man, I sat next to him in a theatre once, so so nice- Steve Allen (@steveallenshow) June 22, 2019
R.I.P William Simons 17 November 1940-21 June 2019.- Jason Marshall (@Jasonm25870) June 22, 2019
PC Alf Ventress in every single episode of Heartbeat, I first saw him in Doctor Who in 1977 as Mandrel in The Sun Makers alongside Tom Baker and Louise Jameson https://t.co/XBuayeM27k pic.twitter.com/NvJEPPQCE0
Loved William Simons as an Actor in many different programs over the years will be a great loss condolences to his family RIP x- Chris Winrow (@ChrisWinrow6) June 22, 2019
Simons was born in Swansea in November 1940 and began acting when he was 10-years-old after his family moved to London.
According to The Mirror, he once said of character PC Alf Ventress: "Alf Ventress had no particular ambition in life. He spent his time behind the desk; he was a heavy smoker - unlike me. I don't smoke, so we used herbal cigarettes.
"Heartbeat gave me enormous pleasure because everyone got along so well. People still stop me to say how much they love watching the repeats."
Featured Image Credit: Yorkshire Television