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Downton Abbey star Peter Egan leads tributes to the late Tony Britton

Tony Britton has died aged 95 (Steve Parsons/PA)
Tony Britton has died aged 95 (Steve Parsons/PA)

Downton Abbey star Peter Egan has led tributes to the actor Tony Britton, who has died aged 95.

Britton’s death was announced by his daughter, TV presenter Fern Britton, on Sunday.

She wrote on Twitter: “Our father, Tony Britton, died early this morning. Great actor, director and charmer. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

Tony Britton’s representatives told the PA news agency the actor died peacefully in his sleep.

He was best known for starring alongside Nigel Havers and Dinah Sheridan in the BBC sitcom Don’t Wait Up between 1983 to 1990.

He also appeared in acclaimed British films such as Operation Amsterdam, Sunday Bloody Sunday and The Day Of The Jackal.

Egan said on Twitter: “Very sad to see the passing of the legend Tony Britton. A wonderful actor and light comedian. Condolences to his family. A lovely man too.”

Anti-badger cull protest
Peter Egan (Yui Mok/PA)

Benidorm actress Sherrie Hewson said: “Sending much love @Fern_Britton a truly wonderful man a real star in everyone’s eyes! He will never be forgotten RIP”.

John Challis, best known as acerbic car salesman Boycie in Only Fools And Horses, hailed Britton as “one of life’s gentlemen”.

He said: “So sorry Fern. Tony was one of life’s gentlemen.”

The Strictly Come Dancing house band, led by Dave Arch, posted: “Sorry to see this news. Love to you and yours Fern”.

Sky Arts Awards
Sanjeev Bhaskar (Ian West/PA)

Actor and comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar said: “Profound condolences Fern and gratitude for the joy and entertainment your Dad brought to me and millions of others. Sending love and strength.”

Britton was born in Birmingham and attended Edgbaston Collegiate School, Birmingham, then Thornbury Grammar School, Gloucestershire.

Speaking to the BBC’s Desert Island Discs in 1973, Britton said he had wanted to be an actor since he was a child.

In the Second World War he served in the Army and worked in an aircraft factory.

Fern Britton
Fern Britton announced his death on Twitter (Ian West/PA)

Britton’s theatrical career began when he joined an amateur dramatics group in Weston-super-Mare before turning professional, appearing on stage at the Old Vic and with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In 2013 Britton appeared as the Earl of Gloucester in a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear at the Old Vic in London, directed by Sir Jonathan Miller who died last month.

Britton shares two children, Fern and scriptwriter Cherry Britton, with his first wife Ruth Hawkins.

His second wife was Danish sculptor Eva Castle Britton (nee Skytte Birkenfeldt) with whom he shares a son, Jasper Britton.

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