Saturday 24 August 2019

DCI Banks’ Stephen Tompkinson remembers ‘brilliant’ co-star Keith Barron

Tompkinson remembers working with his on-screen father.

Keith Barron death
Keith Barron death

By Francesca Gosling

Actor Stephen Tompkinson has paid tribute to his “brilliant” and “kind” DCI Banks co-star Keith Barron.

Barron played Arthur Banks, father to Tompkinson’s DCI Alan Banks, in the drama that ran from 2010 up until last year.

The prolific actor – who also starred in Dennis Potter’s The Nigel Barton Plays and 1975 Hollywood film The Land That Time Forgot – died aged 83 on Tuesday after a short illness, his agent said.

Looking back over their years on the show together, Tompkinson said in a statement to the Press Association: “I was genuinely sorry to hear about the passing of Keith.

Stephen Tompkinson

“It’s hard to believe that his brilliant portrayal of Dennis Potter’s Nigel Barton was the year I was born, 1965. I also remember how superb he was in Take Me Home and as Frank in Tim Firth’s Man Of Letters.

“It was an honour to eventually work alongside him as father and son in ITV’s DCI Banks. Keith was a joy and inspiration to work with.

“Always professional, kind, funny and genuinely encouraging. He effortlessly brought a new and unique emotional dynamic to the show and I always relished the scenes we shared together.

“I feel very privileged to have shared time with my friend and my deepest sympathy extends to his loved ones that he cherished so dearly.”

Tompkinson’s words follow a wave of tributes from colleagues Barron came to know over a career spanning more than 55 years and including roles on shows such as 1980s ITV sitcom Duty Free, Doctor Who, Coronation Street and Holby City.

Keith Barron

Set in Spain, Duty Free ran for three series from 1984 until 1986, with Barron starring as gruff northerner David Pearce alongside Gwen Taylor as his wife Amy.

Commenting on the loss of her on-screen husband, Taylor said: “Keith was such a kind and lovely man and I don’t think I’ve met anyone that would disagree. My thoughts and prayers go to his loving wife Mary and his son Jamie – who meant so much to him.”

Emmerdale actress Samantha Giles posted on Twitter: “So saddened to hear of Keith Barron’s death – I was lucky enough to work with him and my god we had some laughs! Never afraid to call a spade a spade.”

Sunetra Sarker – who starred with Barron in Casualty – also paid tribute to the actor over social media with a post reading: “So sad to hear of dear friend #KeithBarron passing away. One of a kind. Guaranteed laughter. Shall never forget those days. Old school.”

Among the others to share tributes on Twitter was chairman of Elstree Studios Morris Bright, who wrote: “Deeply saddened at passing of the great actor Keith Barron.

“He was a good friend of the industry and of @ElstreeStudios. We knew he had been unwell. Last met him at Elstree in 2009. A true gentleman.”

Children’s author Philip Ardagh, who worked with Barron in the 1980s, posted: “He was a generous, charming, funny and very professional man. I’ve worked with many people over the years but have never forgotten him.”

Barron is survived by his wife of 58 years Mary and his son James, also an actor.

The TV stalwart was born in South Yorkshire in 1934 and, after national service in the RAF, joined an amateur dramatics group also attended by Brian Blessed.

He later moved to London, where he performed in the series of Potter plays and later transferred the role to the small screen for Stand Up Nigel Barton, and Vote, Vote, Vote For Nigel Barton in the mid-1960s.

PA Media

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