Hywel Bennett was best known for playing the title role of Shelley in the ITV comedy series broadcast in the late Seventies and early Eighties.
One of his earliest television appearances was as Rynian, the Aridian in The Death of Time, the second episode of the William Hartnell story The Chase.
Bennett was born in Garnant, Carmarthenshire, in 1944, and grew up in London. He trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. His first stage appearance was in 1959, playing Ophelia in Hamlet.
In the sixties, he appeared in a number of British films including The Virgin Soldiers based on the novel by Leslie Thomas, The Family Way alongside Hayley Mills and the psychological thriller Twisted Nerve.
In 1979 Bennett won the role he would become famous for, playing James Shelley in the Thames Television sitcom which was watched by up to 18 million viewers. The series ran until 1984. Bennett reprised the character in The Return of Shelley, running for four series from 1988 to 1992.
Other TV roles included parts in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, where he played Ricky Tarr, Boon, Frontiers, Neverwhere, Karaoke, Last of the Summer Wine and the Dennis Potter series Karaoke, Cold Lazarus and Pennies from Heaven. He played Peter Baxter in The Bill for five years and in 2003 he played the gangster Jack Dalton in Eastenders. His last known role was as Reggie Conway in The Last Detective in 2007.
In 2007 he retired from acting due to ill health.
Bennett was married to the former television presenter Cathy McGowan from 1970 to 1988 and to Sandra Layne Fulford from 1998. He is survived by his daughter, Emma