Emmerdale actor Richard Thorp has died aged 81.

The veteran star played Alan Turner in the rural soap for more than 30 years.

Richard, who made his first appearance on the show in 1982, was filming until very recently and fans will see him in Thursday night’s episode.

Emmerdale 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.”

His career, which included roles in film and television, included a starring role in the classic 1955 film The Dam Busters.

A statement from Emmerdale said: “The cast, crew and production team at Emmerdale are extremely sad to hear of Richard’s death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time.

“He 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.”