Bernard Holley – a household face from decades on screen in Z-Cars, Doctor Who, Eureka and Jackanory – has passed away aged 81.


Bernard Holley in a publicity shot from 1971

Bernard Holley, who became a household name during his 277 episode stint as PC Newcombe in the ground breaking and popular police series Z-Cars (at the height of its popularity between 1967-71), has died aged 81 after a long illness. He later played in another mould-shattering police drama, The Gentle Touch (1982-84), as Detective Inspector Mike Turnbull – the partner of central character Maggie Forbes (played by the late Jill Gascoine). He also joined Gascoine on the spin-off series CATS Eyes (1984).

His other credits included two roles in Doctor Who : Peter Haydon in one of the show’s all time classics, The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967), and as Axos in The Claws of Axos (1971) opposite Jon Pertwee : a role he reprised opposite Colin Baker on audio for Big Finish.

With Toby Hadoke and Victor Pemberton at the recording of the DVD commentary of The Tomb of the Cybermen in 2010 (photo copyright: Toby Hadoke)

As Charlie Boyd in the 2014 film Extended Rest (photo: Oliver Crocker)

He was a familiar face on British screen for over 50 years, debuting on TV soap The Newcomers in 1966 and still working in the past decade on shows like Doctors and Casualty. He was also a reader on children’s favourite Jackanory between 1974 and 1991 and was an in-demand voice over man, his warm tones heard on countless adverts and documentaries.

His longtime friend, BAFTA winning producer Clive Doig, says “From Z-Cars to Just for Men Bernard was a face and voice instantly recognisable. I first worked with Bernard when he played the burglar on The Phoenix and the Carpet, recorded in 1976. We struck up a lasting friendship and Bernard  became part of my reparatory company in shows like The Deceivers and Eureka. He was always my closest friend in Kew – although he had many brothers of his own, Bernard and I were like brothers.”

“He was an actor with such an easy naturalism that he made small screen acting look much simpler than it actually is,” says his friend, actor Toby Hadoke. “It’s no surprise he made TV his home so early on and that directors went to him again and again. He was always totally believable, communicating a lot by doing very little and he had a natural warmth and charm that made him easy to watch and a likeable performer. He was such a reliable and welcome presence I think everyone thought they kind of knew him.”

Bernard Holley in his Doctor Who tie – photo by Trevor Smith (used with permission and thanks)

Bernard Holley (photo: Ryan McGivern)

Holley, who was born in Middlesex on August 9th 1940, had been in ill health for some time and passed away on the morning of November 22nd. He is survived by his wife Jean, to whom he was married for over 50 years, and their son Michael, grandchildren Marley and Isla and five brothers and two sisters.

Bernard Holley at the 2013 Capitol Doctor Who convention (photo: Tony Jordan)

This post will be updated throughout the day. Press can use any photos featured here so long as the copyright holders are acknowledged.

Toby Hadoke 22nd November 2021


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