Tributes have been paid to the “tremendous” actor and narrator Michael Angelis, following his death aged 76.
Angelis, best known as the long-term narrator of Thomas The Tank Engine series Thomas And Friends, died suddenly while at home with his wife on Saturday, his agent said.
He had lent his voice to the children’s TV programme for 13 series, taking over from Ringo Starr in 1991 when the programme was called Thomas The Tank Engine And Friends.
Among those paying tribute to the actor on social media was comedian Matt Lucas, who described Angelis as “one of the greatest TV actors I’ve ever seen”.
Lucas added: “His work with (screenwriter) Alan Bleasdale was tremendous. What a loss.”
Michael Angelis was one of the greatest TV actors I've ever seen. His work with Alan Bleasdale was tremendous. What a loss.— Matt Lucas (@RealMattLucas) May 30, 2020
Those sentiments were echoed by The Thick Of It writer Simon Blackwell, who described Angelis as “enormously funny”.
Skins screenwriter Jack Thorne shared a tribute to the actor’s work in Boys From The Blackstuff.
Sharing an excerpt from the TV drama’s script, Thorne said: “There’s a moment in it that made my heart stop.”
RIP Michael Angelis, the heart of Boys from The Blackstuff. There's a moment in it that made my heart stop, his kids are starving, he finds £5. He goes out, buys chips, lager & whisky. Clip not online but here's the script, imagine an incredible performance full of self hatred: pic.twitter.com/MeJZ2X7ZGW— Jack Thorne (@jackthorne) May 31, 2020
Angelis was best known to adult audiences for his role as Arnie in September Song, Martin Niarchos in GBH, Lucien Boswell in The Liver Birds and as Mickey Startup in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
He also made appearances in Casualty, The Bill, Holby City and Heartbeat.
Born in Liverpool, Angelis first appeared on screen in the 1970s in programmes such as Z Cars, Thirty-Minute Theatre and an episode of Coronation Street, before stints in Minder, World’s End and Boys From The Blackstuff.
He was married to Coronation Street actress Helen Worth, who plays Gail Platt, from 1991 to 2001, and later married Jennifer Khalastchi.