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Derek Fowlds: the Yes Minister star who was more than just a sidekick

While never a top-billing name, the actor also known for his turn on Heartbeat could steal a scene off anyone – even Basil Brush

Although never reaching the ranks of top-billing TV leads, Derek Fowlds, who has died aged 82, achieved significant acclaim and fame through three long spells as a likable, reliable supporting actor to those given more of the script – first a celebrity vulpine glove puppet, and then actors Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne and Nick Berry.

Fowlds accumulated an impressive 27 years of TV screen time through his roles as Mr Derek in The Basil Brush Show (BBC, 1969-73); junior civil servant Bernard Woolley in Yes, Minister (BBC, 1980-84) and Yes, Prime Minister (1984-86); and Sergeant Oscar Blaketon in the rural Sunday-night soap Heartbeat (ITV, 1992-2009).

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