Michael Jayston, who appeared in the hit BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, has died at the age of 88 after a short illness.

The British actor was known for playing the father of Rachel “Raquel” Turner (Tessa Peake-Jones), the love interest of Derek “Del Boy” Trotter (Sir David Jason).

The sad news was announced by M&M Famous Faces on behalf of the star's family in a statement reading: “It is with great sadness that I have been asked by his family to share the news Michael Jayston sadly passed away this morning after a short illness.

“Those who knew Michael will know he was full of love, laughs and happiness. He adored meeting his fans all over the world.

“His family and friends would appreciate privacy at this time.”

Only Fools and Horses and Emmerdale star Michael Jayston dies aged 88

In the BBC comedy programme's final episode, Time On Out Hands, his character famously tells Del Boy and his brother Rodney (Nicolas Lyndhurst) that a watch found in their garage made by clockmaker John Harrison was worth a fortune

Beyond his time on Only Fools and HorsesMichael Jayston also starred in the historical film Nicholas and Alexandra where he played Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

The movie follows the last days of the monarchy in Russia as well as the relationship between the country's ruler and his wife (played by Dame Janet Suzman).

The star also took on roles alongside Doctor Who star Tom Baker, playing Grigori Rasputin and Lord Laurence Olivier. He would also later go to voice act for Big Finish Productions, producing a number of Doctor Who serials.

From 2007 to 2008, Jayston played Nicola King's husband on the popular soap opera Emmerdale before his character died within a year of taking on the role.