IRISH ACTOR Tony Scannell has sadly passed away aged 74.
A friend of the Cork-born star confirmed the sad news in a statement posted to Facebook.
The cause of Mr. Scannell’s death remains unclear.
Born in Cork in 1945, Tony’s father, Tom, was a professional goalkeeper and represented the Republic of Ireland at international level.
Tony’s life took a different path though, starting with a five-year stint on guard duty in the Royal Air Force.
He then embarked on an acting career and in 1984 landed the role that would come to define him as DS Ted Roach on the long-running UK police drama The Bill.
Something of a fan favourite, he spent nine years on the show before departing the series in 1993, though he did make a series of guest appearances in 2000.
He also appeared in the cult sci-fi film adaptation of Flash Gordon alongside Max von Sydow.
The Facebook tribute to Mr Scannell read: “Damn, damn, damn! I’ve just learned from Mark Wingett of the passing of a wonderful actor and dear colleague of his.
“Tony Scannell played DS Ted Roach on The Bill for nine years from ’84-’93. Any episode that had him in it would have me fixated on the TV.”
The tribute added: “I had a very bad case of a young girl crush on Ted/Tony. He was a bit of alright in my books (despite the fact he was literally three months younger than my Dad!)
“When Tony retired Ted in 1993 I was gutted! I developed an unreasoning dislike of the new DS John Bolton (Russell Boulter) and ground my teeth every time the “holier than thou'” Inspector Andrew Monroe (Colin Tarrant) who caused Ted to quit, came on the screen.
“It took me more years than I care to admit (and meeting Russell, Mark and Hew Higginson) to rid myself of those daft feelings.
“Ted was such a dynamic character, and although I never did get to meet him, I’m sure Tony was just as amazing… and his memory will be cherished by his loved ones and friends all. Vale Mr Scannell! And thank you!"
Reflecting on his career and rise to fame before his death, Mr Scannell said: “I thought I’d have to give ip acting, as I never had much work, and my brother’s father-in-law hired me as a salvage diver where I raised sunken boats.
“But I landed a role in Flash Gordon (1980), where I was an officer to the great Max von Sydow who played Emperor Ming. Just standing next to him scared the pants off me.
‘Then I got an audition for The Bill and played Ted. He looked after himself, old people and the very young; the rest had better beware — that’s how I played him.”
Mr Scannell is survived by his wife Agnes Lillis and the couple’s three adult children.