Bristol pantomime stalwart Chris Harris dies

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Media captionChris Harris starred in pantomimes in the West for more than 30 years

Tributes have been paid to one of the west of England's best-loved actors, writers and directors, who has died.

Chris Harris, 71, from Portishead, played the dame in pantomimes at Bath's Theatre Royal since 2001.

For many years the Bridgwater-born actor also starred in, and co-wrote, pantomimes at Bristol's Old Vic.

His theatre work also included performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Bristol Old Vic and the New Shakespeare Company.

Emma McDermott, from the Theatre Royal, said it was with "great sadness" that staff learned of Harris's death on Wednesday.

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Media captionJon Monie said he was "devastated" by Harris's death

"In his 13 consecutive years as director and performer in the Theatre Royal's much loved traditional pantomimes, and in his acclaimed one-man shows, Chris gave joy to audiences far and wide.

"Chris had a wonderful personality, a great sense of humour and a heart of gold."

The Bristol Old Vic tweeted: "We are very sad to hear that Chris Harris, legend of many of our pantomimes in the 1990s, passed away yesterday."

'My hero'

Theatre Bath tweeted: "Sad news. We have just heard Chris Harris star of the Theatre Royal pantos has passed away. He will be missed."

Former Holby City actor Mark Moraghan tweeted: "So sad to hear my pal Chris Harris has passed away. He will be sadly missed RIP Pal. Thoughts with his family."

Bristol's mayor George Ferguson said he was "desperately sorry" to hear of Harris's death and called him "a brilliant Bristol actor who has entertained generations".

Jon Monie, who starred alongside Harris in pantomimes for more than a decade, said he was "devastated" by the news.

"It's a huge loss to theatre and to audiences around the West Country," he said.

"Chris was the most extraordinary man. He was professional always, incredibly generous... and he was extremely funny. He was my hero."

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