Northern Ireland

Ricky Tomlinson leads tributes The Royle Family actor Peter Martin

Peter Martin, back right, starred as Joe Carroll in The Royle Family
Peter Martin, back right, starred as Joe Carroll in The Royle Family

Ricky Tomlinson has led tributes to Peter Martin, star of The Royle Family and Brassed Off, who has died aged 82.

Describing him as "absolute joy to work with and a brilliant actor", Tomlinson said he "will be sadly missed".

Mr Martin starred as the Royles’ neighbour, Joe Carroll, alongside Tomlinson and Sue Johnston.

News of his death was shared by his friend, Dave Shann, who paid tribute to the actor on Facebook.

"My friend, drinking partner, fishing buddy passed away on Wednesday morning, very sad," he wrote.

"Many of you will know him from TV, RIP Peter Martin, we had some great laughs."

Mr Martin enjoyed minor roles in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including The Liver Birds and Juliet Bravo, before rising to prominence in the 1980s in the Jewson building merchants TV adverts.

Roles in Coronation Street and All Creatures Great and Small followed, before he joined ITV soap Emmerdale, playing the part of Len Reynolds from 2001 to 2007.

He also starred in Last of the Summer Wine, Heartbeat, Playing the Field, Dalziel and Pascoe and ChuckleVision.

He played Ernie in 1996 film Brassed Off, alongside Ewan McGregor and Stephen Tompkinson, and starred in the wrestling film, Walk Like A Panther with Stephen Graham and Tompkinson again.

Grimethorpe Colliery Band, which inspired the film Brassed Off, said members were "saddened to hear" of the actor's death.

In a statement on social media, the group said Mr Martin had an "illustrious career" and added: "Band members say that Peter was exactly like his character, Ernie - dry and always ready with a wise crack.

"He would have fitted into the band well in real life."