James Ellis has died at the age of 82.

The actor James Ellis has died at the age of 82.

Ellis played Peter Warmsly, the archaeologist in charge of the dig, in the 1989 Doctor Who story Battlefield.

Ellis was best known for playing the role of Bert Lynch in the hit sixties police series Z-Cars, appearing in 565 episodes between the years 1962-1978.

Born in Belfast the actor began his career with the Ulster Group Theatre in 1952. He got his big break in television in 1961 when he was cast as Dandy Jordan in the BBC TV production of Stewart Love’s Randy Dandy. Subsequent roles, included Philip in The Sugar Cube before winning the role of Bert Lynch where his character rose from the rank of PC to Inspector over the series run. He played Paddy Reilly in the 1984 zoo vet series, One by One. From 1982, he portrayed Norman Martin, the violent and troubled father in BBC Northern Ireland’s series of Billy plays. Sir Kenneth Branagh, who was just out of drama school, played his son Billy, and the pair later reprised their partnership in A Matter Of Choice For Billy and A Coming To Terms For Billy.

Ellis also appeared in Eternal Law, Casualty, Heartbeat, Playing the Field, Sunburn, Ballykissangel, Big Bad World, Birds of a Feather, The Precious Blood, Oliver’s Travels, The Detectives, Lovejoy, Perfect Scoundrels, In Sickness and in Health, So You Think You’ve Got Troubles, Woof!, All Creatures Great and Small, Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense, Boys from the Blackstuff, ITV Playhouse, The Long March, Till Death Us Do Part and The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Ellis was also a writer of poems and prose and a translator. The BBC broadcast a selection of his adaptations from French in 2007. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University in 2008 for services to the performing arts.

James Ellis died from a stroke in Lincoln Hospital early on Saturday. In line with his wishes, he will be buried in his home city of Belfast.

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