A British icon of particularly the small screen has left us. Dennis Waterman, star of series such as The Sweeney, Minder and New Tricks, has died aged 74.
Born in Clapham in 1948, Waterman was the youngest of eight and, by his own admission, "spoiled rotten" by his siblings. Following an early indoctrination into boxing by his amateur pugilist father, he caught the acting bug early, appearing on stage and screens.
His initial film role was in Night Train For Inverness, and he also worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Yet he initially became best known for playing William Brown in the BBC TV series William based on the Just William books of Richmal Crompton.
On TV, Waterman became a household name thanks to The Sweeney, playing DS George Carter, which was followed by another classic, appearing alongside George Cole in Minder. More recently, he was one of the stars of New Tricks.
On the big screen, his credits included Scars Of Dracula, Up The Junction, Snowball and Sweeney!, which brought the TV characters on to film. Alongside his acting work, Waterman was also known as a singer, releasing albums and performing theme tunes for several of his shows.
"We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved Dennis passed away very peacefully in hospital in Spain," said Waterman's family in a statement. "He died on Sunday afternoon with wife Pam at his side. The family kindly ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time."