AN ACTOR from Newport who received hate mail after he played the judge who sent Deirdre Barlow to prison on Coronation Street has died aged 84.

Bernard Lloyd, as Judge Yeomans, presided over the 1998 trial of the soap stalwart - then Deirdre Rachid - and was so convincing some viewers sent him hate mail after he jailed her.

But this was just one role in a career which spanned six decades and saw him tread the boards alongside stars including Sir Patrick Stewart and Dame Judi Dench.

Born Bernard Gibbons in Newport in 1934, he used the surname Lloyd as his birth name was considered too similar to Bernard Cribbins of Jackanory and The Wombles fame.

He went to Durham Road Elementary School and St Julian’s High School for Boys, where he discovered a love of acting and rugby, as well as hurdling.

Bernard Lloyd, as Judge Yeomans, sends Deirdre Rachid, later Barlow, to prison in 1998

After his national service, he went to prestigious stage school RADA and worked almost constantly from his first appearance on stage at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in 1962.

From then he became a regular fixture on the stage both in the UK and across the world, and received widespread acclaim for his appearance at the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End in the play Shout for Life in 1963.

In a review of the show The Express said: "He has the magnetism of that other Welshman Richard Burton" and the Evening Gazette said: "Bernard Lloyd is the name of a Welsh actor of whom we should be seeing more in the future if his performance in last night’s premiere is anything to go by."

He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1968 and was a long-standing member, appearing in shows in Stratford, London and across the world - including in the USA and Canada.

He was also well known for his appearance on screen as the Traveller in the 1976 version of the Charles Dickens ghost story The Signal-Man.

In 1988 he was back in Wales, playing the lead in A Chorus of Disapproval at Theatre Clwyd, which then opened the newly renovated New Theatre in Cardiff, where a whole row of his family turned out to see him.


Bernard Lloyd, pictured while playing Frank in Educating Rita at Theatre Clwyd in 1989

His last major role was in 2010 as Gloucester to Tim Piggott-Smith’s Lear at the W Y Playhouse in Leeds, He was most recently seen in This Is Not the End at London's Arcola Theatre in 2015.

Although came back to his homeland in 2008, moving to Monmouth, brother Cedric Gibbons said he was rarely at home, frequently travelling to perform or visit friends.

Mr Gibbons added his brother was a jazz enthusiast who enjoyed playing the trumpet, going to the cinema, and walking - and left six pairs of walking boots, at least five backpacks and a pile of maps in his flat.

"If he were alive today, he would have been very pleased that Liverpool were top of the Premier League, that the County are in the fourth round of the FA Cup, but saddened by the state of the Dragons," he said.

Bernard Lloyd died at Watford General Hospital on Wednesday, December 12.