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Dennis Waterman: New Tricks and Minder star dies aged 74

Actor Dennis Waterman, best known for his roles in TV shows like Minder, New Tricks and The Sweeney, has died at the age of 74, his family have said.

A statement said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved Dennis, passed away very peacefully at his home in Spain, on Saturday evening, with Pam by his side.

“The family kindly ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”

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Actor Dennis Waterman has died at the age of 74

Waterman starred as bodyguard Terry McCann in Minder and he first found fame as tough nut cop George Carter in The Sweeney.

Minder brought the criminal underworld of London to millions of homes up and down the country.

Waterman played Gerry Standing in the BBC’s New Tricks, and throughout his career other TV roles included ITV’s Where The Heart Is, The Canterbury Tales and Moses Jones, both for the BBC.

Dennis Waterman as Terry McCann alongside George Cole as Arthur Daley in Minder

He became well-known for singing the theme songs to many of his shows, and was caricatured by David Walliams in Little Britain as a result.

His last film role was in Never Too Late in 2020, which was filmed in Australia.

A host of names from the entertainment world have paid tribute to Waterman.

Actor and comedian Matt Lucas wrote on Twitter: “I grew up watching Dennis Waterman’s iconic performances in The Sweeney and Minder,” Lucas wrote in a tweet.

“His guest appearance in our Little Britain Live show at Hammersmith Apollo – in which he hilariously duetted with David’s absurd impersonation of him – remains the absolute highlight of my career.”

He had been married several times, including to the actress Rula Lenska until 1998, and his daughter, Hannah, became a TV star in her own right – landing a role in EastEnders as Laura Beale.

Waterman was criticised for comments he made in an interview with Piers Morgan in 2012, in relation to violence against his ex-wife Lenska.

He said: "It's not difficult for a woman to make a man hit her. She certainly wasn't a beaten wife, she was hit and that’s different."