TRIBUTES have been paid to veteran Emmerdale actor Richard Thorp following his death yesterday at the age of 81.
Mr Thorp was the Yorkshire-based TV soap’s longest-serving cast member, having played Alan Turner for more than 30 years.
He continued filming until recently and his character is due to appear in tonight’s episode of the show.
Series producer Kate Oates said: “Richard’s death is a sad loss to Emmerdale, of which he was at the heart for so many wonderful years.
“Richard had a brilliant sense of humour and he will be missed by every single member of our production team whose lives he touched.”
Mr Thorp joined Emmerdale on his 50th birthday in January 1982.
He had previously found small screen fame as Dr John Rennie in the Emergency – Ward 10 TV series and also made appearances in shows such as Crossroads and To The Manor Born.
His breakthrough role had come in 1955 when he played squadron leader Henry Maudslay in classic film The Dam Busters.
Mr Thorp revealed in 2004 that he was suffering from an incurable form of leukaemia.
A statement released yesterday by the team at Emmerdale said: “[Richard] will be greatly missed around the Emmerdale studios but all the wonderful memories will live on for a very long time. Richard was a true pro and a total gent.
“He did everything with such charm, wit and effortless grace, he will be sorely missed.”