Colditz and Raffles star Anthony Valentine dies age 76

Anthony Valentine as Raffles
Anthony Valentine as Raffles
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ACTOR Anthony Valentine, who became a huge star in the 1970s and 80s in the Yorkshire-made drama series Raffles, Airline and Justice, has died aged 76.

Valentine also played the ruthless criminal Toby Meres in the Edward Woodward series Callan, and, most famously, the sneering Major Mohn in the BBC’s Colditz.

It was at Yorkshire TV in Leeds that he met his future wife, actress Susan Skipper, while filming the Raffles drama series, an adaptation of the EW Hornung stories about a gentleman thief in turn-of-the-century London.

Ms Skipper said: “Tony was my best friend and it was a privilege to know, love and care for him.”

Blackburn-born Valentine, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012, began his career as a child actor in the movies No Way Back and The Girl on the Pier. Later he appeared as Harry Wharton in the BBC’s Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School.

But it was as an adult that he carved a niche as a leading man with a slightly suppressed sinister undertone.

He came to national attention as the Luftwaffe Officer Horst Mohn in the hugely popular Colditz series and was lured to YTV’s Leeds studios to play Raffles the following year.

Later he returned to guest star in Airline, opposite Roy Marsden. Parts of that series were filmed at the former RAF Rufforth in North Yorkshire.

Valentine also had guest roles in YTV’s Justice, alongside Margaret Lockwood, and, more recently, in Heartbeat.

His stage career encompassed farce, in No Sex Please We’re British; crime drama, in Sleuth; and the musical Half a Sixpence.

His agent Derek Webster said despite his failing health in his last years his sense of humour never deserted him and he continued to live an active life.