The Bill star Ben Roberts dies aged 70

Roberts played Chief Inspector Derek Conway for 15 years, and had also appeared in the likes of Casualty and Doctors.

Ben Roberts

The Bill actor Ben Roberts has passed away aged 70, his agent confirmed on Monday.

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In a statement released on Twitter, Roberts’ agents said: “Remembering the wonderful Ben Roberts who sadly passed away on Monday. Best known as Chief Inspector Derek Conway in The Bill & he had an extensive career in theatre, TV & film. Our thoughts are with his wife Helen &  family at this time.

The Welsh actor played The Bill’s straight-talking Chief Inspector Derek Conway for 15 years. He first joined ITV’s classic police drama in 1987, and left in 2002 when his character was killed in a bomb attack.

Though he is best known for his long tenure on The Bill, Roberts also had two roles in Doctors before joining Casualty as Isaac Sandison in 2016.

As well as his career in TV and theatre, Roberts also starred as Briggs in Cary Fukunaga’s adaptation of Jane Eyre alongside Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska.

Fellow The Bill co-star Ben Peyton, who played PC Ben Hayward, led the tributes on Twitter, calling Roberts “superb” and “absolutely hilarious” as he recalled the day they both found out they were leaving the show.”

He tweeted: “So sad to hear about the brilliant Ben Roberts. Superb actor and an absolutely hilarious man. 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!’

Fans of the show also joined in, including director Erron Gordon, who Tweeted: “Very sad to hear that actor Ben Roberts who played the brilliant Chief Inspector Derek Conway in The Bill has died aged 70. Thoughts with his family.”

Another fan added: “One of my all time favourite characters. The kind you never see on police procedurals anymore. A underrated but brilliant actor too. RIP”

Fans also called him “one of the finest actors on The Bill,” with many crediting the show’s decline to his exit.

Another fan added that Roberts’ character was “a stalwart and valuable member of the Bill for many many years.”

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The actor is survived by his wife Helen, his son and granddaughter.

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