Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Z-Cars star James Ellis dies at 82

Published 08/03/2014

James Ellis (left) in Z Cars
James Ellis (left) in Z Cars
James (jimmy) Ellis plays Dandy Jordan - The Randy Dandy 1961
James (jimmy) Ellis Heads or Harps on UTV St Patrick's Day 1965
James (jimmy) Ellis with his mum and dad in 1968
James (jimmy) Ellis plays PC Lynch in Z Cars
James Ellis as Norman in "Too late to talk to Billy."
Norman played by James Ellis and Lorna, played by Brid Brennan, in a scene from "Too late to talk to Billy."
"Too late to talk to Billy." From left: Ann (Tracey Lynch), Norman (James Ellis), Maureen (Aine Gorman), Lorna (Brid Brennan) and Billy (Kenneth Branagh). 1982
James (jimmy) Ellis plays the part of Walter Perritt. 1986 The Practice
James Ellis pictured with playwright and actor Joe Tomelty in 1991 and sculptor Carolyn Mulholland.
Ciaran Hinds with Jimmy Ellis at the Integrated Education Fund's gala ball at the Europa Hotel.
James Ellis unveils a plaque in 2010 marking the birthplace of playwright Sam Thompson at the location of the house where he was born.
Actor James "Jimmy" Ellis, who has died aged 82, received an honorary degree from Queen's University in Belfast

Actor James "Jimmy" Ellis, who played Bert Lynch in Z-Cars, has died, the BBC has reported.

The Belfast-born actor was 82 and died from a stroke in Lincoln Hospital early today.

Ellis became a familiar face through his role in the BBC police drama, which was a household favourite from 1962 to 1978.

He played alongside a young Kenneth Branagh in BBC Northern Ireland's series of "Billy" plays and also starred in programmes such as Doctor Who, In Sickness And In Health, Ballykissangel and Only Fools And Horses.

Peter Johnston, director of BBC Northern Ireland,said: "We are saddened to hear about the death of Jimmy Ellis. He was a major talent from Northern Ireland, famous for his roles in Z-Cars and the Billy plays.

"He will be deeply missed by all his colleagues on screen and on stage."

In 2008 Ellis was awarded an honorary doctorate from Queen's University, where he had been a student, for services to the performing arts.

He also studied at Belfast's Methodist College and at the Bristol Old Vic.

He began his acting career at Belfast's Group Theatre in 1952 and was appointed director of productions in 1959.

He played bullying father Norman Martin in the 1982 production of Too Soon To Talk To Billy - the first of a trio of Graham Reid plays focusing on working-class Ulster Protestants.

Sir Kenneth Branagh, who was then just out of drama school, played his son Billy.

The death of Ellis's son Adam, 28, who was murdered while fishing from a towpath in west London when a stranger demanded his money, was devastating. His second w ife, Robina, broke the news to him.

In a March 2012 interview with the Express, the actor recalled: " I went berserk. I wasn't in possession of my senses. I kicked open the doors of every pub in the street shouting 'Who knows who murdered my son?'"

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More


From Belfast Telegraph