Ben Roberts, 'The Bill' and 'Jane Eyre' star, dies aged 70

·2-min read
Ben Roberts as Chief Inspector Derek Conway in The Bill (ITV)
Ben Roberts as Chief Inspector Derek Conway in The Bill (ITV)

Ben Roberts, star of ITV’s The Bill, has died at the age of 70.

The actor, best known for playing Chief Inspector Derek Conway, passed away on Monday, 7 June.

His agents, LCM Limited, confirmed the news on Twitter on Wednesday, sharing photos of the star alongside the tribute: “Remembering the wonderful Ben Roberts who sadly passed away on Monday.

Read more: Classic cop drama 'The Bill' set for reboot with original cast members

“Best known as Chief Inspector Derek Conway in The Bill & he had an extensive career in theatre, TV and film.

“Our thoughts are with his wife Helen and family at this time.”

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Roberts is survived by his wife, audiobook narrator Helen Lloyd, his son Joseph, and his granddaughter, Elsie.

Born in 1950, Roberts — born Bennett Roberts — appeared in his first television role in 1978, starring alongside Ralph Bates and Anna Calder-Marshall in limited series A Woman’s Place.

After a string of small roles in shows including The Professionals and Doctor Who, he was hired as Chief Inspector Derek Conway in 1987.

Roberts remained in the role for 13 years, during which time Conway was seen being promoted and demoted around Sun Hill police station.

He was also involved in a series of high-stakes stunts that included an explosion in 1990.

His character was killed off in the year 2000 following a car bomb attack.

Read more: 'The Bill' cast hold lockdown reunion 10 years on from show end

Roberts went on to make appearances in children's series The Queen’s Nose, as well as Doctors and Casualty.

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The actor later branched out into film, joining Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska in Cary Fukunaga's 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre.

In 2016, he starred alongside Eva Green in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Roberts’ last on-screen role was in 2019 film Ser du månen, Daniel, based on the true story of photographer Daniel Rye, who was captured by ISIS and held hostage in Syria.

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