Tributes paid to 'Allo 'Allo!'s cafe owner Rene Artois who died aged 75
Actor Gorden Kaye, best known for his role in the long-running sitcom 'Allo 'Allo!, has died aged 75.
Kaye played reluctant resister and cafe owner Rene Artois in the show, which was set in Nazi-occupied France during the Second World War.
The star's agent confirmed he died on Monday but made no further comment.
The show ran on BBC1 from 1982-1991 and remains one of Britain's best-loved sitcoms.
As Rene, Kaye risked his neck to aid the resistance and stay out of trouble with the Nazis, with Carmen Silvera as his wife Edith, Richard Gibson as Gestapo officer Herr Flick and Officer Crabtree (Arthur Bostrom), whose mangled vowels led him to adopt the greeting: "Good moaning."
A long-running joke had Rene hiding a painting, The Fallen Madonna With The Big Boobies, inside a garlic sausage.
He also starred in Coronation Street, playing Elsie Tanner's nephew Bernard Butler on the soap from 1969 to 1970.
Kaye's last acting credit came in the BBC sketch show Revolver in 2004.
Kaye also starred in a successful stage version of 'Allo 'Allo! alongside the original cast, which featured three London shows and an international tour.
In 1990 he nearly died in a freak accident which left him with severe head injuries when a piece of wood crashed through his car windscreen in a storm.
Of the incident he once said: "I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
The BBC paid tribute to the "terrific comic actor".
Shane Allen, the controller of BBC comedy commissioning, said: "Gorden Kaye was a terrific comic actor whose signature role, Rene Artois, earned his place in the comedy hall of fame.
"He was instrumental in making 'Allo 'Allo such a long-running and well-loved series. His work lives on and thoughts are with friends and loved ones at this sad time."
Before landing his career-defining role, Kaye appeared in a number of hit shows including It Ain't Half Hot Mum and Are You Being Served.
His former co-star Vicki Michelle, who played Yvette Carte-Blanche in 'Allo 'Allo! posted a moving tribute on Twitter alongside a photo of the pair.
She wrote: "So sad to hear news of Gorden Kaye.
"A brilliantly talented actor consummate professional, loved the world over."
She added: "There'll never be another Rene."
Celebrity astrologer Russell Grant said he was "sad" to hear the news in a post on Twitter.
He added: "He was such a fine character actor and brought much joy to many."