Z-Cars actor Frank Windsor dies aged 92

Actor Frank Windsor, best know his role in 60s police drama Z-Cars, has died at the age of 92.

Windsor was best known for playing Detective Sergeant John Watt in the BBC series, which was set in the fictional town of Newtown, based on Kirkby in Lancashire.

A statement from his agent to the PA news agency said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our much-loved client Frank Windsor at the age of 92.

Television – Z Cars Photocall – London
Television – Z Cars Photocall – London

“Frank passed away peacefully at his home in London on Wednesday September 30 2020.

“Born Frank W Higgins on July 12 1928, his acting career spanned over 50 years, with notable roles in Z-Cars, Softly Softly, Casualty and Peak Practice.

“Frank is survived by his daughter Amanda and his wife Mary, who was by his side until the end.

“As per Frank’s wishes and in keeping with Covid restrictions, there will be no funeral or memorial service, just a private cremation with his ashes being laid to rest with his beloved son David.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Television – Z Cars – 1965
Television – Z Cars – 1965

Windsor attended Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Walsall, before going on to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama, then based at the London’s Royal Albert Hall.

He played DS Watt in Z-Cars from 1962 to 1965 and later appeared in spin-offs Softly, Softly and Softly, Softly: Taskforce from 1966 to 1976.

Z-Cars offered an alternative to the police procedurals of the time, with a darker tone and a northern setting, when many were based in southern England.

It ran for more than 800 episodes and featured a cast of stars including Stratford Johns as Detective Inspector Barlow and Brian Blessed as “Fancy” Smith.

Windsor worked mostly in television across his five-decade career, securing roles in Casualty, EastEnders, ITV drama Peak Practice and Doctor Who.

He appeared on the show This Is Your Life in December 1975 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews to revisit highlights from his career.

His final film role came in 2000 as Mr Walker in Between Two Women.

In 1997, Windsor’s son David was killed, aged 29, in a road crash alongside a female companion, Denise Rothwell, 32.

They were discovered under an old bridge near a beauty spot in Wester Ross after they left a hotel in the Scottish Highlands without paying the bill.

The couple, who both worked as cabin staff for British Airways, had been staying at the Loch Maree Hotel in the village of Kinlochewe.

Mrs Rothwell’s husband, a BA long-haul pilot, was in Delhi, India, when she died.