Ronald Pickup: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel actor dies

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Actor Ronald Pickup, who is best known for his roles in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films and The Crown, has died aged 80.

His agent said he "passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness surrounded by his wife and family. He will be deeply missed".

The actor, who died on Wednesday, was the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2016's The Crown and played Neville Chamberlain in 2017 film Darkest Hour.

He worked in theatre, film and TV.

Pickup's career break came in 1964 with a role as a physician in Doctor Who episode The Tyrant Of France.

image captionPickup [centre] was in the National Theatre's Much Ado About Nothing

In 1967 he played Don John in a BBC studio recording of Franco Zeffirelli's famous production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

He also starred in the films The Mission and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and played Norman Cousins in the Marigold Hotel films in 2011 and 2015, which also starred Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith.

His extensive television work included a 2015 episode of Downton Abbey and 2014's Call the Midwife Christmas special. He also made appearances in shows including Vera, Coronation Street, Doc Martin, Parade's End, Holby City, The Bill and Silent Witness.

Pickup told the PA news agency in 2012 that his favourite role was playing the writer George Orwell in TV movie Crystal Spirit: Orwell On Jura, which told the story of him writing his acclaimed novel 1984.

Last year he starred in horror film End Of Term, which starred former Doctor Who actor Peter Davison.

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