Z-Cars actor Frank Windsor dies aged 92

Frank Windsor
Frank Windsor
16:54pm, Fri 02 Oct 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Actor Frank Windsor, best know his role in 60s police drama Z-Cars, has died at the age of 92.

Windsor was best known for playing Detective Sergeant John Watt in the BBC series, which was set in the fictional town of Newtown, based on Kirkby in Lancashire.

A statement from his agent to the PA news agency said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our much-loved client Frank Windsor at the age of 92.

Television – Z Cars Photocall – London - (Copyright PA Archive)

“Frank passed away peacefully at his home in London on Wednesday September 30 2020.

“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.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Television – Z Cars – 1965 - (Copyright PA Archive)

Windsor attended Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Walsall, before going on to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama, then based at the London’s Royal Albert Hall.

He played DS Watt in Z-Cars from 1962 to 1965 and later appeared in spin-offs Softly, Softly and Softly, Softly: Taskforce from 1966 to 1976.

Z-Cars offered an alternative to the police procedurals of the time, with a darker tone and a northern setting, when many were based in southern England.

It ran for more than 800 episodes and featured a cast of stars including Stratford Johns as Detective Inspector Barlow and Brian Blessed as “Fancy” Smith.

Brian Blessed joins whaling protest - (Copyright PA Archive)

Windsor worked mostly in television across his five-decade career, securing roles in Casualty, EastEnders, ITV drama Peak Practice and Doctor Who.

He appeared on the show This Is Your Life in December 1975 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews to revisit highlights from his career.

His final film role came in 2000 as Mr Walker in Between Two Women.

In 1997, Windsor’s son David was killed, aged 29, in a road crash alongside a female companion, Denise Rothwell, 32.

In 2000, Windsor appeared in ITV drama Anchor Me, portraying a man whose family refuses to admit their feelings over the accidental death of his character’s son.

Speaking at the time, he said the role had prompted him to confront his own son’s death.

He said: “In Anchor Me, the mother has kept the cork in the bottle and I recognised that, personally.

“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.

“But it was one of the things that made it very, very difficult, wondering whether to do this show in the first place.”

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