THE actor Richard Thorp, who played the role in Emmerdale of Alan Turner for more than 30 years, has died at the age of 81.
He made his first appearance on March 23, 1982, and became the soap’s longest-serving cast member.
A seemingly permanent fixture, he won respect for his professionalism and affection for his kindliness and gentlemanly manners.
Some 27 years earlier, Mr Thorp had been in The Dam Busters with Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd, his part in the film being that of squadron leader Henry Maudslay.
The Turner character in Emmerdale was initially the hard-drinking, womanising and bullying manager of Home Farm, but writers allowed the character to mellow and he moved on to become landlord of the Woolpack pub and open a B&B.
Mr Thorp was 23 when he landed his part in The Dam Busters. In fact he had auditioned for a smaller role, but on account of his resemblance to Maudslay, that was the part he was given.
He went on to appear in The Barretts of Wimpole Street and There’s Always a Thursday before joining the popular TV series Emergency Ward 10.
Television also provided him with other roles, his credits including Crossroads and To the Manor Born.
In an interview which he gave in 2010, Mr Thorp frankly admitted that he was too lazy to pursue a career in Hollywood, and anyway he liked the security of the regular income he got from being in Emmerdale.
In another interview, he said he ought to have had regrets about not moving on – but had none.