Hywel Bennett, star of television and film, dies aged 73

Hywel Bennett

Bennett began his film and television career in the 1960s

Actor Hywel Bennett, known for his roles in Shelley and EastEnders, has died aged 73, his agent has confirmed.

The Carmathenshire-born actor’s roles included 1960s films The Family Way, with Hayley and John Mills, and The Virgin Soldiers, with Lynn Redgrave.

But it was in the long-running sitcom Shelley that he made his name.

Bennett – whose other television roles included Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Pennies from Heaven – played the title role in the series.

It ran from 1979 to 1984 and told the story of an unemployed man living in a London bedsit. He later reprised the role in The Return of Shelley, which ran from 1988 to 1992.

He joined EastEnders in 2003 as Jack Dalton, a gangland boss who ended up being killed inĀ an act of revenge.

He also featured in episodes of Last of the Summer Wine and in the Dennis Potter mini-series Karaoke and Cold Lazarus.

Bennett appeared as Peter Baxter in The Bill for five years. His last known role was as Reggie Conway in The Last Detective in 2007.

He had one daughter, Emma, with former wife Cathy McGowan and was godfather to Crispian Mills, son of Hayley and lead singer of rock band Kula Shaker.