For eighteen years from 1992 to 2010, and over 372 episodes, ITV audiences were delighted on Sunday evenings by the heart-warming trials, tribulations and adventures of the rural police force in the North Riding of Yorkshire.
It seemed to be one of those programs, during the 90s, that everybody made time for on their Sunday evenings, but eventually, after a run of nearly two decades, it was axed in 2010.
But with recent rumours swirling that the show might be in for a comeback at some point, let’s have a look at where some of the original cast members, behind those iconic characters, are up to now.
11.Derek Fowlds – Sgt Oscar Blaketon
Fowlds was one of the true mainstays of the show, having appeared in the show right from the very start in 1992 right up until the very end in 2010.
But like Nick Berry, Fowlds was already a huge star on TV thanks to his appearances on the classic comedy shows such as Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister.
It was quite the sharp contract for the actor, given that Oscar Blaketon was the first northerner that he had ever played in his career. In true ironic fashion, he never thought that the show would prove to be a success, but lo and behold, he ended up spending the next 18 years of his life working and making life-long friends in Yorkshire.
Semi-retired, Fowlds now lives in Bath but after the show ended the actor suffered terrible personal tragedy, with his partner being diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and eventually passing away in 2012.
“We’d been together for 36 years and she made me laugh every day,” he said.
Though he is semi-retired, Fowlds hasn’t quite quit acting, having landed a role in the medical soap Casualty.
10.William Simons – PC Alf Ventress
Here we have another Heartbeat veteran, William Simons was in the series for the show’s entire run from 1992 until 2010, and won the hearts of the nation as the laidback and lovable PC Ventress. And as we all remember if we’re a certain age, he tried to get over his habit of heavy smoking by replacing them with herbal cigarettes. These were the pre-vape problems!
Since the show ended in 2010, Simons has worked on Casualty as Jacob Hinder in 2014 and for over a decade he has worked as the patron of the Changing Faces charity, who do work for people with disfigurements.
“Heartbeat gave me enormous pleasure because everyone got along so well. People still stop me to say how much they love watching the repeats,” Simons told the Daily Express.
He loved his time on the show so much that in 1994, he and his wife bought a cottage near the set, but 14 years later he had to move away because of a lack of privacy from fans of the show.
9.Bill Maynard – Claude Greengrass
Heartbeat was one of the most loved and watched shows on TV during its peak years of 1992 to 2000, and a bit part of the success of the show that was set in the 1960s was the lovable rouge Claude Greengrass, who provided some light relief and was one of the key components to the show’s success.
Maynard sadly left the show after suffering a series of strokes, but he returned to the public eye in 2003 for Radio Leicester, where he worked and hosted a show for five years.
Speaking to the Express in 2015, Maynard said: “I live independently and do all my own cooking and there’s nothing I enjoy more than a game of poker and an enormous baked potato with melted butter and grated cheese.
“I’ve done everything in this business from acting and singing to tap dancing, opera and one-man shows. People can’t understand why I still want to work at my age and I tell them it’s not work. I love it.”
Maynard’s last TV appearance was in 2017 where he played the role of Cecil in the TV mini-series, The Moorside. Sadly, he passed away, on the 30th March of this year, aged 89.
8.Nikki Sanderson – Dawn Bellamy
Nikki Sanderson, who had already made a name for herself as part of Coronation Street, playing the part of Candice Stowe, made the short trip across telly land to Heartbeat and enjoyed success on the show for its later years.
She joined the cast in 2008 as the niece of the much loved character Phil Bellamy after he was dramatically shot dead and left the show. She remained as part of the cast of Heartbeat until the show ended.
After Heartbeat ended in 2010, she walked the boards as she has worked in theatre and has appeared in Hollyoaks as Maxine Minniver. She has won plaudits for this role and awards for her performance, such as Best Actress nominations at the 2014 and 2015 British Soap Awards and Serial Performance at the National Television Awards.
7.Mark Jordan – PC Phil Bellamy
Mark Jordan appeared as the much loved PC Phil Bellamy from the show’s inception in 1992 and dramatically left the show in 2007 when he was shot dead.
Since then, Mark Jordan has been all over our TV screens, having appeared in shows such as Hollyoaks as Mr Sykes, and from 2011 to 2013, he appeared in BBC’s daytime soap opera Doctors.
He has also appeared as various characters over the years in ITV’s flagship soap opera Coronation Street over the years from 1985 until 2014. And from 2014 he appeared in Emmerdale until earlier this year.
6.Peter Benson – Bernie Scripps
Peter Benson has enjoyed a long career that dates all the way back to the late 60s, but he is best known for playing Bernie Scripps in Heartbeat from 1995 until a year before the show ended in 2009.
Benson left the show and after that, he worked on Casualty as two different characters in 2011 and 2013, as Trevor Lambert and Stan Law respectively.
5.Gwen Taylor – Peggy Armstrong
Gwen Taylor appeared as Peggy Armstrong in Heartbeat from 2005 until 2009, but she also appeared as a German naturist in a 2007 episode. Do with that what you will!
Taylor has enjoyed a long career that began in the early 70s, and before she appeared on Heartbeat she’d already made a name for herself in shows such as A Perfect State and Barbara. After she left Heartbeat in 2007 she continued to enjoy a successful career in shows like Doc Martin, in Coronation Street for a year over 2011 and ’12, as well as Tracey Ullman’s Show in 2016 and 2017.
She appeared in Trollied earlier this year, but one of her biggest claims to fame has to be appearing as ‘Mrs Big Nose’ in the beginning of The Life of Brian.
4.Geoffrey Hughes – Vernon Scripps
Geoffrey Hughes played Vernon Scripps, the half brother of Bernie Scripps, for much of the later years of the show from 2001 until 2007. Geoffrey Hughes enjoyed a long and successful career and was a mainstay on British TV screens for much of his career, with his first role that made him a household name arguably being his stint in Coronation Street as Eddie Yeats from 1974 until 1987.
As well as that, Geoffrey Hughes enjoyed a career peak in the 90s and early 2000s as Onslow on Keeping Up Appearances from 1990 until 1995 as well as starring as Twiggy from 1998 until 2000 in the Royle Family and then in the later Christmas specials.
Sadly, Hughes passed away 2012 at the age of 68 having “died peacefully in his sleep”.
A Coronation Street spokeswoman said: “We are very sad to hear of the death of Geoffrey Hughes.
“He created a legendary and iconic character in Eddie Yeats who will always be part of Coronation Street.
Everyone connected with the programme sends our sincerest condolences to his family.”
Coronation Street star William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, said: “I am so sorry to hear about Geoffrey. He was a warm, lovable actor, with great comedy timing.
“He will be greatly missed, one of the Street’s memorable characters.”
Helen Worth, who plays Gail McIntyre in Coronation Street, said: “Geoff was a very dear friend for many years, and I’m very sad to hear the news of his passing.
“He was a master of gentle comedy and brought pleasure to so many people. He will be sadly missed.”
3.Tricia Penrose – Gina Ward
Tricia was one year short from being a full veteran of Heartbeat, having joined the show in 1993. Tricia has managed to keep her profile high over the years because of her many TV appearances as well as her attempts to break into the music business.
Whilst becoming a household name as part of the Heartbeat cast, she released two singles, one in 1996 and another in 2000, and she also took part in the Song for Europe contest as part of the bid to become Britain’s 2002 Eurovision entry.
Tricia also performed as Peggy Lee in Stars in their Eyes and in 2007, she leant her talents to Comic Relief Does Fame Academy.
Since the show ended, she has kept herself on TV, appearing in shows such as Celebrity MasterChef and ITV’s entertainment show Sing If You Can.
In 2013, she also took part in Celebrity Big Brother.
2.Jason Durr – PC Mike Bradley
Jason Durr played PC (and later DC) Mike Bradley from 1997 until 2003, and after he left the show, the actor, who was classically trained LAMDA, he appeared in shows such as Lewis, Midsomer Murders, and New Tricks before spending a couple of years in Casualty as David Hide from 2016 to 2018.
He also appeared in the TV documentary Ten Years of Heartbeat, to commemorate the show that was loved by millions of people.
1.Nick Berry – PC Nick Rowan
During the show’s peak, he was the leading man of the show and was one of the biggest and most recognisable stars on TV.
But his days as a TV pin-up was already well under way when filming began in 1992. Berry’s stint as Wicksy on EastEnders had turned him into a verified rock star, with reports even coming out of gangs of girls waiting for the chance to catch a glimpse of him after EastEnders filming.
What some fans may not have known as that Nick actually continued his music career by singing the cover of the Buddy Holly track for Heartbeat and appeared in the show for six years.
He even turned his role in the hit ITV Sunday night show into a family affair when his real-life wife Rachel Robertson appeared on the show in a series of one-off roles.
Berry quit the show in 1998 and looked to capitalise on his success by appearing in the BBC drama Harbour Lights and alongside Stephen Tomkinson in the crime drama series The Deep. However, despite his pin-up status post-Heatbeat, neither programme proved to be ratings successes.
In the same year that the show was axed, 2010, Berry retired from acting to open his own production company.
Speaking about the change in his lifestyle, Berry said he’d made plenty of money in the 80s and 90s, but confessed: “I’ve basically turned into my dad. I’ve got a shed and a vegetable patch, and I’m pleased to report my peas are doing very well. I’m at my happiest there.”