Ben Roberts, Derek Conway on The Bill, dies at 70

Ben Roberts, best known for playing Chief Inspector Derek Conway in The Bill from 1987 to 2002, has died at 70.

His death was confirmed by his former agent, who called him a “wonderful” actor who had had “an extensive career in theatre, TV and film”.

Roberts’ character on the ITV police drama was an an old-fashioned officer and a trained hostage negotiator.

Conway was ultimately killed when a petrol bomb was thrown into his panda car.

He went on to appear in the 2011 film version of Jane Eyre and Tim Burton’s 2016 fantasy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Born in Bangor in 1950, Roberts made his first TV appearance in A Woman’s Place in 1978.

He also had roles in The Professionals, nursing drama Angels and and a 1984 episode of Doctor Who.

He is survived by his widow Helen Lloyd, a former continuity announcer and audiobook narrator.

‘Absolutely hilarious’

Ben Peyton, who appeared in The Bill in the early 2000s, remembered his namesake as a “superb actor and an absolutely hilarious man”.

“We were both axed from The Bill on the same day back in 2001,” he recalled on Twitter. “He came to my dressing room and said, ‘They made a mistake with our names. You were supposed to be sacked twice!'”

First aired in 1984, The Bill depicted life in the fictional Sun Hill police station in south London.

It eventually ended in 2010 after 27 years, 26 series and 2,425 episodes.

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