RENOWNED actor John Turner was best known for his role as a dedicated detective in ITV drama Prime Suspect.

But as one of the acting profession’s best-loved character actors, he is remembered for so much more than just one ITV series.

The Oxford and Witney resident, known in the trade as John Benfield, was a dedicated man who, since 1981, performed in over 70 films and TV series.

Mr Turner died aged 68, on June 16 from a rare cancer, at Sobell House Hospice in Oxford.

He started out with small parts in BBC drama adaptations such as The Winter’s Tale and The Day of the Triffids.

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He impressed many over the years with his powerful performance as Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Kernan, opposite Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect.

The series, which ran between between 1991 and 2006, focused on a no-nonsense female Detective Chief Inspector, Jane Tennison (played by Helen Mirren) who has to prove herself in a male-dominated profession, with the support of her boss, DCS Mike Kernan, played by Mr Turner. The early episodes were watched by 14 million viewers.

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Dame Helen Mirren

His vast range as an actor allowed him to work with some great directors all over the world, including the Wachowskis, Woody Allen, Gillian Armstrong, Jim Sheridan, Ken Loach, David Drury, Chris Menaul and Sam Mendes.

Mr Turner’s agents, Markham, Froggatt & Irwin said he always brought a “truth and integrity to his roles and was an imposing, strong and rugged figure, with a soul and belief in his craft.”

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Sir Sam Mendes

As well as small screen roles he also won parts in films and his long list of credits is impressive and includes Cruncher Block in Speed Racer, Brian Blaine in Cassandra’s Dream, Dunston in Endgame, PO Barker in In the Name of the Father and, more recently, Captain Axel in Cold Skin.

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He also played Jimmy in Buster in 1988 and was a barman in The Best Offer, which came out in 2013.

Mr Turner will also be remembered for ITV’s Floodtide, where he played Detective Inspector Brook.

It was perhaps the small screen where he really made his mark and he was a familiar face playing a number of different roles in numerous TV dramas.

These included Sharpe’s Revenge (1997) as General Calvet, The Worst Week of My Life (2004) as Ron Steel, Prime Suspect (1991-95) as DCS Michael Kernan, Eurocops (1988-1990) as DC George Jackson, and Maigret as Henri Lautier.

Though famed for his more serious roles, he was also cast in a number of comedies, where he starred alongside Simon Pegg and Sally Phillips in comedy series Hippies as Dad, and BBC’s The Worst Week of My Life as Ron.

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Simon Pegg Picture: PA

John Turner was born on Wanstead, Essex, on November 9, in 1951.

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He was educated at Loughton School, followed by Loughton Further Education College and Nottingham University before he went on to study at the Webber Douglas School of Drama.

After meeting Lilian Lees (known as Lil), the couple married on May 6, 1989 at Hammersmith Registry Office.

Mr Turner tried out several jobs before and after attending further education college, including chauffeur and he was in the ambulance service before going to Nottingham University at the age of 23 to study history. He got involved with the Drama Society at the university and it was then that he decided he wanted to be an actor.

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Shortly after they were married, Mr Turner and his wife moved from London in 1990 to Old Marston Village and they lived there for 25 years before moving to Witney in 2015.

He leaves Lilian, son Freddie, and grandson Rex.