Entertainment & Arts

Onedin Line actor Peter Gilmore dies aged 81

Peter Gilmore
Image caption The Onedin Line was set in the 1860s, when British naval strength was the envy of Europe

Peter Gilmore, star of TV drama The Onedin Line, has died at a hospice in London after a long illness. He was 81.

For 10 years from 1971, Gilmore starred in 91 episodes of the BBC series, which followed the lives of shipping magnate James Onedin and his family.

Born in Germany in 1931, Gilmore came to the UK at the age of six and was raised in Yorkshire

His Onedin Line co-star, actress Jessica Benton, called him "a gentle man and a gentleman".

She said: "The Onedin Line was a very happy, long-running series to be involved in and that was all credit to Peter because he made it so. We all became very close friends over the years and had a lot of fun.

"We sorely miss him."

Image caption Gilmore also starred in a guest role in Doctor Who

Gilmore's agent, Primie Carey said: "On behalf of his wife Anne and Peter's family I would like to thank those who have sent their kind thoughts and condolences."

Gilmore left school at 14 to become an actor and after leaving National Service in the early 50s, he joined up with a singing group and starred in some musicals with little success.

Carry On films

In 1958 he got his first major part as Sir Waldo of Ivanhoe in the TV series, Ivanhoe.

He moved on to the stage in London's West End, acting in shows including Lock Up Your Daughters and The Beggar's Opera.

In 1971, Gilmore was cast as the shrewd and determined shipping boss James Onedin in the BBC's ambitious drama series.

Set in the 19th Century, the show was praised for its locations and use of genuine historical vessels. On top of the day-to-day drama, romance and business dealings, the series also tackled social and economic issues of the time, such as slavery.

Gilmore's film work included roles in several of the Carry On films and a memorable lead in the cult film Warlords of the Deep, co-starring Doug McClure.

Following TV work, which included episodes of Casualty and Heartbeat, his final on-screen role was in a made-for-TV film, On Dangerous Ground, with Hollywood star Rob Lowe.

Gilmore was married three times, first to actress Una Stubbs and later Jan Waters.

He is survived by his third wife, Anne Stallybrass, best known for her performances in the 1970s series The Six Wives of Henry VIII and more recently in Heartbeat.