Tributes paid to Belfast actor James Ellis

Kenneth Branagh among those paying tribute to ‘Z-Cars’ actor

Actor James Ellis, who died from a stroke in Lincoln Hospital at the age of  82. Photograph: Pacemaker

Actor James Ellis, who died from a stroke in Lincoln Hospital at the age of 82. Photograph: Pacemaker

Sun, Mar 9, 2014, 22:19

Actor Kenneth Branagh has paid tribute to Z-Cars actor James “Jimmy” Ellis, who has died at 82, saying he had been an inspiration to work with.

Ellis, who performed alongside a young Branagh in BBC Northern Ireland’s series of Billy plays in the early 1980s, died from a stroke in Lincoln Hospital on Saturday.

Branagh, who went on to become a star in front of and behind the camera, said: “James Ellis was a great inspiration to me, and many other actors from the North of Ireland. I was blessed to begin my career working with him, and I will never forget his generosity to me.

“He was a highly intelligent, funny, and kind man, and a tremendous actor.” Belfast-born Ellis was best known for playing Bert Lynch in BBC police drama Z-Cars , which ran from 1962 to 1978 . –(PA)