Frank Windsor: Z Cars actor dies at 92

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Windsor starred in Z Cars, one of the most popular shows of the 1960s

Actor Frank Windsor, known for his roles in TV dramas Z Cars, Softly Softly, Casualty and Peak Practice, has died at the age of 92.

Windsor played Det Sgt John Watt in pioneering police show Z Cars in the 1960s, and its spin-off Softly Softly.

He remained a familiar face with roles in shows like Doctor Who, Flying Lady and Middlemen, and appeared as Kenneth in Casualty from 2003 – 2004.

His agent said he died peacefully at home in London on Wednesday.

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Windsor (right) with Sylvester McCoy in Doctor Who: Ghost Light in 1989

In 1973, Windsor appeared in another Z Cars spin-off alongside Stratford Johns, who played Charlie Barlow, in which their characters re-opened the Jack the Ripper murder files. They investigated other famous unsolved cases in 1976’s Second Verdict.

Windsor also played the lead role in 1970s drama Headmaster; and in Flying Lady, a 1980s comedy-drama about a factory worker who uses his redundancy payment to buy a Rolls Royce.

The actor’s other TV credits included 1960s sci-fi A for Andromeda, and a 1985 adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. He was also known for TV commercials advertising life assurance.

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He played Gridley in Bleak House on TV in the 1980s

“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our much-loved client Frank Windsor at the age of 92,” a statement from his agent said.

“Born Frank W Higgins on July 12 1928, his acting career spanned over 50 years, with notable roles in Z Cars, Softly Softly, Casualty and Peak Practice.

“Frank is survived by his daughter Amanda and his wife Mary, who was by his side until the end.

“As per Frank’s wishes and in keeping with Covid restrictions, there will be no funeral or memorial service, just a private cremation with his ashes being laid to rest with his beloved son David.”

‘Kept the cork in the bottle’

David died in a car crash in 1997 at the age of 29.

Three years later, the actor starred in ITV’s Anchor Me as a man whose family refused to confront their feelings over the accidental death of his character’s son.

“In Anchor Me, the mother has kept the cork in the bottle and I recognised that, personally,” he said at the time.

“When our son died my wife took counselling – I didn’t. I’m not that sort of person. I can’t unburden myself to a total stranger, it doesn’t work for me.

“I think these things do need to be talked about and they need to be shown on television,” he added.