Heartbeat: Nick Berry, Tricia Penrose - Where are the cast of the ITV drama series now?

The popular period soap opera is being revived for a new stage show – but what happened to the show’s stars after it was axed?

Heartbeat lasted for 18 series, 372 episodes and nearly two decades on ITV, delighting Sunday night audiences with its heartwarming adventures and dramas of a rural police force in the North Riding of Yorkshire.

Six years after it was sadly axed by ITV. However, there are rumours of the TV show being revived with former cast members treading the boards around the UK.

But whatever happened to the show’s original stars after the curtain came down:

1. Nick Berry – PC Nick Rowan

Heartbeat on ITV

He was the show’s original leading man, who was one of Britain’s biggest TV stars when the show started filming in 1992.
Berry’s stint on EastEnders as Wicksy had turned him into a pin-up, a popstar and there were reports of huge gangs of girls waiting for a glimpse of him outside the set of EastEnders.

Berry continued his music career by singing the Buddy Holly cover theme tune for Heartbeat and appeared in the series for six years. He even turned the show into a family affair with his wife Rachel Robertson appearing in the series in one-off roles.

After quitting the show in 1998, Berry appeared in the BBC drama Harbour Lights and alongside Stephen Tomkinson in crime series In The Deep, but neither proved to be a ratings success.

Since 2010, Berry has retired from acting and runs his own production company.

Speaking about his lifestyle change, Berry said he’d made plenty of money in the 80s and 90s and 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.”

We’re still waiting for the follow-up to his 1992 self-titled album and his No.47 single Long Live Love.

2. Derek Fowlds - Sgt Oscar Blaketon

Heartbeat on ITV

One of the stars who appeared in the show from 1992 to the very end in 2010, Blaketon was a big star already thanks to his performances as Bernard Woolley in the comedy classics Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister.

However, Sgt Oscar Blaketon was the first northerner he had played in his career. He didn’t think the show would be a success, so he was surprised to spend 18 years working, partying and make life-long friends in Yorkshire.

Fowlds now lives in Bath and after the show ended he suffered a personal tragedy as his partner was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. She sadly died in 2012.

“We’d been together for 36 years and she made me laugh every day,” he said.

Fowlds hasn’t totally retired and landed a role in medical soap Casualty.

He’s also written his autobiography A Part Worth Playing.

3. William Simons  - PC Alf Ventress

Heartbeat on ITV

Another Heartbeat full-timer, Willaim ‘Bill’ Simons lasted every series of Heartbeat as the lovable and laidback PC Ventress. To get around the problem of playing a heavy smoker, Simons puffed away on herbal cigarettes for 18 years.

Since the show ended Simons has appeared in Casualty as Jacob Hinter in 2014 and has worked for over a decade 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 he bought a cottage near the set with his wife in 1994, Sadly, he had to sell the property 14 years later because he couldn’t get any privacy from fans of the show and visitors.

4. Tricia Penrose – Gina Ward

Heartbeat on ITV

A hugely popular character and cast member for 17 years on Heartbeat (she joined in 1993), Tricia has kept a high profile thanks to reality TV appearances and her attempts at a pop career.

While still in Heartbeat she released two singles, in 1996 and 2000, and she also took part in the Song for Europe contest to be Britain’s Eurovision act in 2002. She also used her vocal talents on the 2007 series of Comic Relief Does Fame Academy and with a performance as Peggy Lee on Celebrity Stars In Their Eyes.

Since Heartbeat ended, Penrose has taken part in Celebrity MasterChef, but was eliminated in the first round, and ITV’s entertainment show Sing If You Can.

In 2013, she took part in Celebrity Big Brother and reached the semi-final and she’s also taken part in daytime series Who’s Doing the Dishes? and Stephen Mulhern’s Big Star’s Little Star with her son Freddy.

5. Bill Maynard – Claude Greengrass

Heartbeat on ITV

Lovable rogue Claude Greengrass provided the light relief in Heartbeat and he was one of the key ingredients in the show’s success during its most popular series between 1992 and 2000.

Maynard, who took his stage name from a billboard for Maynard’s wine gums (his real name is Walter Williams), left the show following a series of strokes, but returned to work in 2003 for Radio Leiecester, where he hosted a show for five years.

He’s also given university lectures on comedy acting and talks about his life.

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.”

6. Nikki Sanderson – Dawn Bellamy

Heartbeat on ITV

After becoming a household name in Coronation Street as Candice Stowe, Sanderson returned to the world of TV soap with Heartbeat for its final years.

She joined the cast in 2008 as the neice of the much-loved character Phil Bellamy, following his dramatic exit where he was shot dead, and remained with the show until it ended.

After Heartbeat finished, she’s took part in a Vagina Monologues UK tour and since 2012 has appeared in Hollyoaks as Maxine Minniver.

She’s won plaudits for her performances in the Channel 4 soap and earned Best Actress nominations at the 2014 and 2015 British Soap Awards and Serial Performance at the National Television Awards.

Were you a fan of Heartbeat? Would you like to see it back on TV? Have your say in Comments below.

Photo Credit: Rex/Shutterstock/Ken McKay/ITV


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