'You couldn’t have met a nicer person ever,' said his personal assistant and friend Helen Bennett
Derek Fowlds, who most famously starred as Bernard Woolley in Yes Minster and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister, has died aged 82.
The hugely popular actor was also well known for playing Oscar Blaketon in the long-running ITV series Heartbeat and as Mr Derek on the Basil Brush Show.
Basil Brush tweeted: “I don’t know what to say, I’m so desperately sad. Such times we had, rest in peace Mr Derek, my best friend forever.”
Former EastEnders star Larry Lamb also paid tribute, tweeting that his “dear old colleague” was “a truly lovely man and a fantastic actor”.
Fowlds died on Friday morning at Royal United Hospitals Bath after suffering pneumonia.
His personal assistant and friend Helen Bennett told the PA news agency: “He was the most beloved man to everybody who ever met him, he never had a bad word to say about anybody and he was so well respected, adored by everyone.
“You couldn’t have met a nicer person ever, he was just a wonderful man and I will miss him terribly.”
Fowlds formed an amazingly funny onscreen team with Paul Eddington as politician Jim Hacker and Nigel Hawthorne as civil servant Sir Humphrey Appleby, first in Yes Minister and later, when Hacker reached number 10, Yes, Prime Minister.
Poor Bernard would often find himself in the middle of his scheming boss Humphrey and the often slow-witted Hacker in the BBC comedy. However, Bernard and Hacker did memorably team up to outsmart Humphrey once, locking him out of Number 10 in an episode called The Key.
Fowlds would also on occasions get to deliver a killer line as Bernard, perhaps most memorably when Hacker ran through his theory on who read the papers…
Derek Fowlds enjoyed a very long television career, with his other credits including Z Cars, Inspector Morse, Boon and Casualty.
Main picture of Derek Fowlds: PA Archive/PA Images