Northern Irish actor Jimmy Ellis has died at the age of 82. The TV star suffered a stroke early on Saturday (08Mar14) at Lincoln Hospital in England. Ellis was best known for his role as Bert Lynch in police TV drama Z-Cars, which ran from 1962 until 1978, but also starred alongside acting veteran Sir Kenneth Branagh in BBC Northern Ireland's Billy series of plays. Paying tribute to his former co-star, Branagh tells the BBC, "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." Ellis joined the Ulster Group Theatre in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1952 and went on to become the theatre's director of productions, but he resigned from the role in 1960 to stage and direct Sam Thompson's play Over The Bridge, which had been deemed too controversial by the theatre's bosses. He also had roles in British TV classics such as Dr Who, Only Fool and Horses, and Ballykissangel. In 2008, he was presented with an honorary doctorate from Queen's University in Belfast for services to the performing arts.