Richard Thorp, best known for his role as Alan Turner in Emmerdale, has passed away. His role as Turner, which began in March 1982, made him the longest serving character on the popular ITV soap, and endeared him to a wealth of fans.

Thorp got his big break in acting when he took on the role of squadron leader Henry Maudslay in the 1955 WW2 film The Dam Busters at the age of 23, having appeared in several smaller roles prior to that. He went on to feature in the movie The Barretts of Wimpole Street as well as the television series Crossroads and To The Manor Born before eventually joining the cast of the popular series Emergency Ward 10. It wasn't until 1983 though that Thorp really made a name for himself as a television actor, staring as the heavy-drinking, woman-hungry manager of Home Farm.

Thorp was a modest man, and never once spoke ill of the show that had provided him with steady work for so long. In a 2010 interview with the Daily Mail he admitted that he was "too lazy" to pursue a Hollywood career and that he never really strived for one in the first place. Similarly, in the same year, he told the Radio Times that whilst he "ought to" have regrets about lpedging so much of his time to the soap, he didn't have any.

Statements and tributes from co-workers and co-stars from over the years have been flooding in since the news of his death broke, with an official statemnt from the show saying that he was a "true professional and a complete gentleman" who would be "greatly missed."

The actor died in Leeds on Wednesday (May 22) and will make his final appearance in tomorrow (May 23) night's edition of Emmerdale.

Thorp has already shot his last scenes for the soap