Children’s TV favourite Basil Brush was among those to pay tribute to actor Derek Fowlds at his funeral.
Fowlds, who died last month aged 82, was famous for playing Bernard Woolley in Yes Minister and appeared as “Mr Derek” on the Basil Brush TV show.
Actors Clive Mantle and Richenda Carey were among the mourners at St Katharine’s Church in Holt, Wiltshire.
The famous fox, tweeted the vicar had helped him up to the pulpit to recite a poem to his “dearest friend”.
Fowlds, who also played sergeant-turned-publican Oscar Blaketon in ITV police drama Heartbeat for 18 years, died at Royal United Hospital in Bath on 17 January after having suffered with pneumonia.
Rev Andrew Evans said despite “lots of floods” about 180 people had attended Monday’s funeral.
“There were quite a lot of locals and his closest buddies, including most of the cast of Heartbeat,” he said.
“Clive Mantle did the eulogy and Richenda Carey did a reading but the star of the show was Basil Brush.”
He said it was a “very touching moment” when the children’s television character “popped up from the pulpit”.
“I just announced him as a special guest and Basil delivered a little poem he’d written,” he said.
“He did some ‘Booms, Booms’ and even sang a little bit of one of their songs.
“And when the coffin was raised at the end, I asked everyone to give him [Fowlds] a last standing ovation – it was a very moving service.”
Fowlds worked on the BBC’s Basil Brush Show as a presenter between 1969 and 1973, replacing Rodney Bewes.
Following the service, his co-star Basil tweeted his poem saying it “won’t be the same” without “my Mr Derek”.
He said they were “companions upon the stage and friends when in the bar” and added he knew his “talented dear friend – would go far”.
“I’d interrupt, then disrupt we went on far too long,” he said.
“I’ll interrupt no more old chum, the stage is now all yours”.
Fowlds was married twice; first to Wendy Tory and then later to Blue Peter presenter Lesley Judd.
He is survived by sons Jamie and actor Jeremy.