Actor Dudley Sutton, who played Tinker Dill in Lovejoy, dies at the age of 85

Dudley Sutton, who was known for playing Tinker Dill in the TV series Lovejoy, died at the age of 85, confirmed his agent.

A statement from the Sutton representative said he died peacefully on Saturday at the Royal Trinity Hospice in London, surrounded by his family, after diagnosing cancer.

A message from the family of the film and TV star said: "Today we are devastated by the loss of our beautiful Dudley, who leaves a gaping hole in our lives.

"We are grateful for the love of friends and fans everywhere and for the extraordinary care he received at the Royal Trinity Hospice in Clapham, South London, where he was going to fight for our NHS."

Sutton played opposite the film Ian McShane in the comedy-drama-mystery series BBC in the series of 70 episodes from 1986 to 1994.

The character of Sutton was a tout who befriended the titular gruesome antiques dealer played by McShane.

Chris Jury, who played Eric Catchpole in the show, paid tribute on social media.

Jury wrote: "My dear, dear friend Dudley Sutton died today, I loved him very much, condolences with Fanny, Peter, Barnaby, Wally and Jacqueline and the rest of his family … Love you Duds."

Sutton & # 39; s other TV appearances were a special Christmas episode of BBC sitcom Porridge, in which he played hostage Reg Urwin opposite Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale.

He also played in an episode of ITV crime drama The Sweeney.

In his later career he had a recurring role as Conman Wilfred Atkins in BBC soap EastEnders, as well as smaller sections in Holby City and Channel 4 Teenage drama Skins.

Sutton was born in Surrey on April 6, 1933. He served as a mechanic in the Royal Air Force before enrolling in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, from which he was later exiled.

He joined theater director Joan Littlewood's Theater Workshop and appeared in numerous plays that depicted life in the working class in the 1950s and 1960s.

The pioneering screen role of Sutton came in the 1964 film The Leather Boys, in which he played a gay biker.

He later appeared in films such as The Devils (1971), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) and The Football Factory (2004).

In November 2017, Sutton played a video clip for the solo-single Midnight Mass by Keane singer Tom Chaplin.

Chaplain wrote on Twitter: "Sad to hear that Dudley Sutton is dying, he played a great role in the video for my song Midnight Mass.

"Off-camera he was full of steadfast beliefs, warmth and fun! And, of course, he played Tinker in my favorite TV show of all time."

Inbetweeners actress Emily Atack appeared in 2011 comedy film Outside Bet next to Sutton. She shared a photo on Instagram of herself and Sutton on the film set with the late actor Bob Hoskins.

She wrote: "So sad to hear that Dudley Sutton is over, such a hilarious, warm, talented man with whom I am so honored to work in. He sends love to his family he always talked about. # 39;

Spandau Ballet musician and actor Gary Kemp added: "Farewell Dudley Sutton, one of our greats and a charming man, another Joan Littlewood's brood of great actors is leaving us."