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British actor Dudley Sutton dies

By AAP Newswire

British actor Dudley Sutton, who was known for playing Tinker Dill in the BBC TV series Lovejoy, has died aged 85.

A statement from Sutton's agent said he died peacefully on Saturday at the Royal Trinity Hospice in London surrounded by his family, after being diagnosed with cancer.

A message from the film and TV star's family said: "Today we're devastated by the loss of our beautiful Dudley, who leaves a gaping hole in all our lives.

Sutton starred opposite Ian McShane in the BBC comedy-drama mystery series throughout its 70-episode run from 1986 to 1994.

Sutton's character was a tout who was friends with the titular roguish antique dealer played by McShane.

Sutton's other TV appearances included a special Christmas episode of BBC sitcom Porridge, in which he played hostage taker Reg Urwin opposite Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale.

He also starred in an instalment of ITV crime drama The Sweeney.

In his later career he had a recurring role as conman Wilfred Atkins in BBC soap EastEnders, as well as smaller parts in Holby City and Channel 4 teenage drama Skins.

Sutton's breakout screen role came in the 1964 film The Leather Boys, in which he played a gay biker.

He later appeared in films such as The Devils (1971), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) and The Football Factory (2004).