A BOLTON-born actor who appeared in more than 100 films and television programmes — including Dr Zhivago and Doctor Who — has died.

Bernard Kay, aged 86, who was in the first episode of Z-Cars, was brought up at his grandparents' house, near his former school in Devonshire Road.

The son of a journalist, he worked as a reporter for the Bolton Evening News and Manchester Guardian before pursuing a career in acting.

He was married to the actress Patricia Haines who had a daughter Niki by her first husband, the actor Michael Caine, and who died aged just 45 in 1977.

His friend — actor and comic Toby Hadoke — confirmed Mr Kay was found dead at his north London home on Monday and the cause of death had yet to be determined.

Mr Hadoke, founder of the XS Malarkey comedy club in Manchester, met him about five years ago while recording a Doctor Who DVD commentary.

He said: "I long admired Bernard Kay as an actor, so I was thrilled to finally work with him and get the opportunity to tell him how good I thought he was.

"He was incapable of a bad performance and brought nuance and depth to so many roles over the years.

"It was no accident that the TV directors of the '70s and '80s used him over and over again — he was a thoughtful and intelligent actor who could show great vulnerability despite his strong physical presence."

In 2006 Mr Kay scooped an award for the first chapter of his memoirs, in which he described his difficult childhood in pre-war Bolton.

Mr Hadoke added: "As a drinking buddy, he was combative and funny but because of his difficult childhood found it difficult to take compliments.

"He once told me 'I live to act' and he was at his happiest when doing the job he loved.

"It's fair to say he never quite got over the death of his wife Patsy, about whom he talked with great pride and emotion even 37 years after her death.

"He always put on a bluff front but his writing showed great perceptiveness and sensitivity."

Mr Kay, who also appeared in Jonathan Creek, The Professionals and as the Bolshevik in Dr Zhivago, was educated at Manchester's Chetham's School before completing National Service and later attending Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol.

He was lead guest star in one of the early Doctor Who adventures, The Dalek Invasion Of Earth, in 1964 and returned to the series the following year as a war weary Saladin in The Crusade, before appearing in The Faceless Ones in 1967 and Colony In Space in 1971.

On stage, he learnt the role of Macbeth in 24 hours to save the opening night of a production at the Nottingham Playhouse in 1952.