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Rochester resident and former Bread TV star, Ronald Forfar, has died

The actor who played Scouse rogue Freddie Boswell in the hit sitcom Bread has died.

Ronald Forfar, who spent his last years in Rochester and was a familiar figure in the town, passed away at the age of 81.

The theme tune to the popular 1980s show set in Liverpool

He was a member of Rochester and Strood Labour Party and played an active role in the 2014 by-election.

An accomplished actor, he had a long theatrical career with roles in Shakespeare's Hamlet and Love's Labour Lost.

But he was probably best known for playing Freddie Boswell in the '80s Carla Lane BBC comedy.

In its heyday, the series based around a working-class family in Liverpool, drew 20 million viewers.

Born into a family in the North West city, Ron was blessed with perfect diction, got into a grammar school and spent seven years in the Royal Navy before winning a place to train at RADA from 1965-67.

Rochester resident Ronald Forfar with his book
Rochester resident Ronald Forfar with his book

For 20 years he trod the boards at theatres across the UK, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Bristol Old Vic, Royal Exchange, Manchester, the Traverse theatre, Edinburgh and Birmingham Rep.

His successful television career included parts in The Sweeney, Chuckle Vision, The New Avengers and Tutti Frutti.

After disappearing from the stage and screen for a while, he went to France where he renovated a dilapidated cottage in Normandy. He then moved to Paris before re-emerging in Rochester.

On his return to England, he found he couldn't afford house prices in London so moved to the town he'd lived in as a navy clerk.

In his latter years he wrote a series ofnovels about life in the theatre from his Victorian terraced house in Roebuck Road, which he described as "somewhere I felt at home".

Ronald Forfar in character as Freddie Boswell from TV sitcom Bread
Ronald Forfar in character as Freddie Boswell from TV sitcom Bread

One of the first of these was, A Wilderness of Monkeys, self-published in 2014, and which the actor Richard Griffiths described as "pure Hazlitt".

In an interview with the Medway Messenger in September 2014 , he was asked what happens in life after sitcoms?

He replied "By and large they disappear – they're either not well known enough or too well-known. At the end of Bread I couldn't walk down the High Street without people shouting at me.

"I wrote to 12 agents asking them if they would represent me and only one replied. He said 'no'."

His friend Michael Parkinson wrote in The Guardian: "To the end Ron was a charismatic and commanding presence, amusing, sharp and cultured company, a warm friend kindly neighbour.

Ron Forfar with Labour's candidate Naushanah Khan and current shadow health minister Jonathan Ashworth in 2014
Ron Forfar with Labour's candidate Naushanah Khan and current shadow health minister Jonathan Ashworth in 2014

"Always looking to the future, his final years were thinking about where else he might live, in writing and in engaging with local people.

"He would discuss politics, books, plays opera and many other musical genres with his friends."

Cllr Vince Maple, leader of the council's Labour group paid tribute, saying Ron was "hugely supportive" during the by-election campaign in 2014

One of four sons to parents Albert and Elizabeth, he is survived by his brother Gordon. He died on September 28.

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