By Thomas Mackintosh
Doctor Who and Emmerdale star Richard Franklin has died at the age of 87, it has been confirmed.
A statement announced the actor "passed away peacefully" on the morning of Christmas Day adding he was "fighting a long-term illness".
Franklin is best known for for portraying Captain Mike Yates of UNIT in Doctor Who from 1971 until 1974.
He also appeared in Crossroads and played businessman Denis Rigg in ITV's Emmerdale.
A spokesperson for Franklin told the PA news agency: "We are deeply saddened by his loss, we will fondly remember him for his generosity, creative spirit, and fantastic storytelling.
"He is also well remembered outside the family for his long-running career in TV and theatre where he delighted audiences of all ages.
"This gave him great joy and we know his legacy will last."
It is with great sadness, that the family of Richard Franklin have asked me to share news of his passing, early this morning. Richard passed away peacefully in his sleep. Details of funeral arrangements will be shared here when announced. Sleep well Richard. #RIP— Richard Franklin (@PlanetFranklin) December 25, 2023
- Líam Rudden pic.twitter.com/TgsSADbQYt
Franklin will be remembered by Doctor Who fans for playing the recurring character of Captain Yates, a companion of the Doctor who helped to repel alien invasions of Earth during classic episodes in the 1970s.
He reprised the role in later decades for one-off episodes, including an appearance in the show's 20th anniversary special in 1983, and attended many fan conventions to talk about the character.
In 2012, he told a Doctor Who podcast about the "family atmosphere" on set in the early days of the show, describing it as an "extraordinary" environment to work in.
Katy Manning, 77, who also appeared in Doctor Who as Jo Grant between 1971 to 1973, paid tribute.
Writing on X - formerly known as Twitter - she said: "Our wonderful brave captain Yates Richard Franklin has gone on his awfully big adventure I'm so very grateful I saw him on Friday."
Details of Franklin's funeral will be shared in due course, his family said in the statement shared on social media.
Born in Marylebone in 1936, Franklin authored the book Forest Wisdom: Radical Reform of Democracy and the Welfare State.
He unsuccessfully stood as a parliamentary candidate during a number of general elections for several parties - including the Liberal Democrats in 1992 and UKIP in 2001.
Franklin also founded the Silent Majority Party and stood as a candidate in the 2005 general election in the Hove constituency receiving 78 votes.
This story was originally published by the BBC.