04/05/2013 09:30 | By Lorna Cooper, editor, MSN TV

Emmerdale: Alan Turner actor Richard Thorp dies at 81

Richard Thorp, who played Alan Turner on Emmerdale for over 30 years, has died.

Alan Turner Emmerdale Richard Thorp (© ITV)

Richard Thorp, the longest-serving cast member of Emmerdale, has died at the age of 81. He joined the cast of Emmerdale Farm in March 1982 as Alan Turner, an unlikeable businessman who fell out with many in the village, most notably Joe Sugden (Frazier Hines).

Over the years the character softened and Alan even became the landlord of The Woolpack, a move which cemented both his standing in the community and his status as village elder statesman.

A statement by ITV paid tribute to his work: "The cast, crew and production team at Emmerdale are extremely sad to hear of Richard's death.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time. He will be greatly missed around the Emmerdale studios but all the wonderful memories will live on for a very long time. Richard was a true pro and a total gent. He did everything with such charm, wit and effortless grace, he will be sorely missed."

The soap's producer, Kate Oates, added: "Richard's death is a sad loss to Emmerdale, of which he was at the heart for so many wonderful years. Richard had a brilliant sense of humour and he will be missed by every single member of our production whose lives he touched."

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