List of Heartbeat characters
Within each category, characters are listed in order of first appearance. Only regular and recurring characters are included. Each episode typically also features half a dozen or more actors whose characters appear in that episode only.
Aidensfield village "bobbies"
- Nick Berry as Police Constable (PC) Nicholas "Nick" Rowan, later Sgt (series1–7). Newly arrived from London to become Police Constable for Aidensfield, Nick was good-natured and, after some initial hostility, became popular with the people of Aidensfield. Nick was very happily married to Dr Kate Rowan, and they had a daughter Sarah (later renamed Katie), but by the time Kate gave birth she was ill with leukaemia which eventually claimed her life. About two years later, after veiled suggestions that he might be paired off with nurse Maggie Bolton, Nick met school teacher Jo Weston, and they started courting and later married. He was promoted to sergeant and took over from Oscar Blaketon when the latter was invalided out of the force. He was not happy in his new job, however, and several months after his wedding with Jo, he accepted an offer to join the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and left Aidensfield, with Jo and Katie, to go to Canada. (This storyline was the basis of a one-off special episode called "Heartbeat: Changing Places".) Nick was brought up in Hackney, in London's East End, by his mother Ruby. His father, a merchant seaman, had died in the war. But tragedy struck Canada when he was shot dead Jo was extremely upset. Because he died on their 3rd wedding anniversary she was greeting all dolled up for a family tea at the eatery. In a hidden series to Australia only showed in England.
- Jason Durr as PC Michael Dunstan "Mike" Bradley, later acting DC (series 7–12). An upstanding if somewhat wooden character, sometimes transforming into a square-jawed action hero, to be found grappling with armed villains, dragging survivors from collapsing quarry workings, jumping onto the roofs of moving trains etc. Like Nick Rowan he had previously worked for the Metropolitan Police in London; he arrived with a pony-tail and supercilious attitude, both of which were quickly dispensed with. After a brief relationship with Gina Ward, in rivalry with PC Phil Bellamy, he dated and then married solicitor Jackie Lambert, but the pair later divorced as a result of her infidelity. Bradley then started dating Dr Tricia Summerbee, and they were on the point of becoming engaged when she died in a horse riding accident. Dr Summerbee's death hit him very hard. Subsequently he was transferred to CID, and moved away from Aidensfield after promotion.
- James Carlton as PC Stephen "Steve" Crane (series 12–13). Arrived from Manchester, fresh-faced and keen, to take over as Aidensfield constable after Bradley's promotion to CID. During an investigation into the disappearance of a six-year-old girl, Steve found himself alone on a bridge with the girl and her father (who had arranged for his daughter's kidnapping). During the ensuing struggle between Steve and the father, Steve fell off the bridge (presumably pushed), and, in spite of all the efforts to save him, he plummeted to his death.
- Jonathan Kerrigan as PC Robert "Rob" Walker, later Sgt (series 14–16). Rob was almost identical in character to his predecessor Mike Bradley. Originally local to Aidensfield, he had a tough upbringing (his father was in prison for theft), and he stated that he had joined the police force to "make amends" for his father's life of crime. He had previously had a failed marriage. He began an affair with Dr Helen Trent after she separated from her husband. Subsequently Helen's divorce was finalised, and the two married in an episode first broadcast in June 2006. Helen died just weeks later, at the end of the 15th series. In series 16, Walker began a relationship with district nurse Carol Cassidy. When Walker passed his sergeant's exams he was offered a place on a fast-track training course in another part of the country. He was reluctant to leave Carol and asked her to accompany him. Carol refused, saying that their relationship could not work while he was still grieving for Helen. The two made a tearful farewell, and Walker rode off into the sunset at the end of Series 16.
- Joseph McFadden as PC Joe Mason (series 17–18). Joe was described as a policeman "who sets his own rules, tackling crime in an idiosyncratic way that doesn't always sit well with those around him". He took over from PC Rob Walker in series 17. PC Mason came to Aidensfield on a temporary posting of a few weeks, pending the appointment of a permanent replacement for Walker and his own transfer to the Metropolitan Police. He had previously worked with Sergeant Miller in the York police force, where his insubordination, impetuosity and readiness to wade in with physical force earned him a reputation as a maverick. His cocky attitude initially alienated some of the Aidensfield locals, but his success in controlling local troublemakers and capturing a gang of armed robbers had won over most of the villagers by the end of his first episode. Finding Aidensfield to his liking, and feeling a growing attraction to Nurse Cassidy, he applied to stay on at the end of his posting, abandoning his plans to join the Met. His application was accepted and he was appointed permanent Aidensfield village bobby. His planned replacement, Don Wetherby, took the post of the recently deceased Phil Bellamy. Mason's supposed maverick tendencies and idiosyncratic approach to the job were played down (or forgotten) in later episodes. His relationship with Nurse Cassidy flourished, but the two later argued and split up, and Joe rebounded into the arms of DS Dawson, his work superior, then also split up with her, and attempted another shot with Carol.
Ashfordly police sergeants
- Derek Fowlds as Sgt Oscar Blaketon, later retired (series1–18). A crotchety sergeant with a particular loathing for Claude Greengrass, whom he was perpetually trying to put behind bars. Often appearing cynical, suspicious and bad-tempered, and very serious and hard, he mellowed somewhat with age. His softer side was occasionally apparent, and at various times he was a voice of wisdom or shoulder to cry on for younger policemen facing moral dilemmas or personal traumas. After a near-fatal heart attack in Series 7 which forced his retirement from the police force, Blaketon became proprietor of Aidensfield Post Office and General Stores. However, the writers found this difficult to tie into the plots, and after only a year he was brought back to the centre of the stories by being made owner of the Aidensfield Arms (pub), which he bought after discovering that he owned some valuable share warrants, and where in later eposiodes he was usually to be seen serving behind the bar with landlady and licensee Gina Ward. Blaketon was once married, but divorced some years before the series began. He has a son called Graham who appeared in several early episodes but was thereafter rarely mentioned. Blaketon was also a local councillor and, after retirement, an occasional private investigator, sometimes working in this capacity with Alf Ventress. During the final episode, whilst feeding his adventurous side, Blaketon was impaled onto a pitchfork. The finale ended with his fate unclear.
- Nick Berry as Sgt Nick Rowan — See above under "Aidensfield village bobbies".
- Philip Franks as Sgt Raymond Craddock (series 7–11). A decent but rather vain and pompous Welshman. Noted for his sarcasm, he delivered some of the more amusing lines in the show. His hobbies were cycling and ballroom dancing. The series did not show much of his personal life, though he was apparently a very lonely man. It was revealed in the eighth series that he had separated from his wife Penny, but they decided to rekindle their marriage and reconciled in the eleventh series. At the same time as reuniting with his wife, Craddock gained promotion, and the pair then left Ashfordly, and the series, to start a new life.
- Georgie Glen as Sgt Jennifer Nokes (2000–2001, 2003–2004, 2005, 2009, 2010). A female stand-in sergeant who first appeared as cover for Sgt Craddock while he was on holiday. She takes a liking to young male officers, and once propositioned PC Bellamy, who freaked out somewhat. She later took a liking to PC Younger.
- Duncan Bell as Sgt Dennis Ian Merton (series 11–14). A strait-laced and honourable Scotsman to whom the men were loyal. Merton had previously worked for the CID but was demoted to uniformed sergeant and transferred to Ashfordly after punching a fellow officer during an argument. He became acquainted with the much younger pharmacist Jenny Latimer when he was diagnosed with diabetes, and the two later married. Their relationship became increasingly fraught during series 14 – she feeling neglected, and he irritated by her interference in his work and worried by her increasingly irrational behaviour. After her eventual complete mental breakdown, and realising he should put his wife ahead of his job, he resigned from police force to move nearer to the hospital where Jenny was being treated, thus leaving the series.
- John Duttine as Sgt George Miller (series 14–18). Blunt Yorkshireman. Moved to the Ashfordly job from the York police force, and still lived in York. He had a wife and several children. His daughter Jo (played by Pip Ripley), who had walked out on the family due to disagreements, appeared in a Series 16 episode. She came face to face with her father after being arrested for anti-war activism, and the two reconciled their differences. Another daughter, Cheryl, featured in Series 18 "Family Matters" when she was kidnapped by an armed gang. In the episode "Cashing In", Miller's wife, Jeannie (Jessica Turner), was finally shown. Jean was arrested for stealing a tin of luncheon meat from a local shop but PC Younger found out that a young boy had slipped it into her handbag. It was explained that Jean was upset because Miller did not talk to her much since their daughters had left home. Years before taking a regular part as Sgt Miller, Duttine had appeared in an one-off role as Paul Melthorn, an MP leading a protest against US activity at nearby Fylingdales.
Other Ashfordly police
In one of the very first episodes, Sergeant Blaketon stated that the Ashfordly police force comprised 12 officers, but storylines never built on this fact, and only four (or at times five) officers ever featured in the show. These are the Ashfordly sergeant, the Aidensfield village constable of the day, plus Bellamy (later replaced by Wetherby), Ventress (later in a civilian capacity), and, from time to time, another rookie PC. Occasionally other anonymous police officers are seen in the background (for example when the force is required to police a large demonstration or undertake a search of the moors), but they are never given names or any dialogue. Otherwise, the small contingent of regulars appears able to provide a continuous 24-hour service for the whole area, with someone always available to respond to any call-out at any time of the day or night.
- William Simons as PC Alfred "Alf" Ventress (series 1–18). Phlegmatic, long-serving policeman who had never risen beyond the rank of constable. Famed for his encyclopedic local knowledge, his smoking habit, and his occasional lapses (sleeping on the job) and eccentricities (penchant for hard-boiled eggs). Portrayed as lacking ambition, motivation and fitness, his insights nevertheless often proved invaluable to the station's crime-solving efforts, and in Episode 155 it is revealed (to general disbelief and astonishment) that the lethargic Ventress had in fact served as a Commando in the war, taking part in daring raids behind enemy lines. In his younger years Ventress had a gambling problem that occasionally compromised his position as a police officer. In series 13 he retired from active police duty, but returned to Ashfordly police station almost immediately as a civilian administrator. His wife, "Mrs Ventress", was regularly referred to by name but never appeared in person. However, the episode "Windows of Opportunity" included a number of shots of a ladies' keep fit group which Mrs Ventress was said to have attended, so she may have appeared on screen, albeit unidentified. He has at least one child – a daughter, Gail, who was mentioned as living in Cardiff in episode 6.8.
- Mark Jordon as PC Philip "Phil" Montgomery Bellamy (series 1–17). Phil was a pleasant, laid-back and somewhat goofy bloke with a good heart and a great sense of humour. His police number was 426 and he was said to be the eldest of seven children. He had been attracted to local pub landlady Gina Ward ever since she arrived in Aidensfield, but she rejected his advances for years before finally warming up to him. He left the force briefly, to become a double-glazing salesman, when he hoped Gina would accept his marriage proposal (since it was forbidden for a police officer to marry to a pub licensee). When the proposal fell through, he returned to his former job. Later, Phil and Gina were again planning to marry, but when their baby died Gina called off the engagement and Phil was left alone again. In series 11 Phil dated pharmacist Jenny Latimer, and in series 14 he briefly dated Rosie Cartwright, but considered her "just a kid". Some years later, in the 2006 series, he married Debbie Black, an apparently single mother of three children whom he met while investigating a burglary at her house. It was subsequently discovered that Debbie was in fact still legally married to her first husband, so her marriage to Phil was invalid. The two split up, and Debbie left for South Africa with her real husband. In Series 16 Phil's romance with Gina was restarted, but it suffered a further setback when Phil feared that he was suffering from heart disease (a condition that had killed his father and grandfather). This proved to be merely an ulcer, and after a successful operation Gina proposed to him in his hospital bed. The two were finally married in the Series 16 episode "The Dreams That You Dream" (broadcast June 2007). During the marriage ceremony it was revealed that Bellamy's middle name was Montgomery. In episode 17.6 ("Touch And Go", broadcast 23 December 2007), Bellamy became involved in a confrontation with a shotgun-wielding man intent on abducting his son from his ex-wife's custody. As he tried to disarm the man he was shot dead. He was laid to rest with 'Hero' on his coffin, leaving the village, and his widow Gina, distraught. A one-off special, Heartbeat: Farewell to Phil, reliving his time on the series with contributions from Jordon and fellow actors, was broadcast on ITV on 24 December 2007.
- Ryan Early as PC Thomas "Tom" Nicholson (series 11, only). Nicholson arrived in Ashfordly from Scarborough on probation, his move possibly hastened by a seaside incident that resulted in a photograph of a donkey wearing his helmet appearing in the local press. He was keen and well-intentioned, but frequently got things wrong and was initially the butt of the other policemen's jokes. Despite his gauche manner with women he briefly dated Gina Ward and then Jenny Latimer. On Sgt Craddock's orders, he moved into the Aidensfield Police House with Bradley. On his 21st birthday, the villagers, pretending to ignore the event, had actually arranged a surprise party in the pub in the evening. However, during the day Nicholson became involved in a hunt for two thieves who are attempting to flee the country in a private plane, and volunteered himself as a hostage in exchange for a seriously injured PC Bellamy. At the airfield, Nicholson was shot dead in a scuffle. At his funeral, Merton gave a moving eulogy and, as a reflection of his love of brass bands, "Amazing Grace" was played.
- Steven Blakeley as PC Geoffrey "Geoff" Younger (series 14–18). Newly recruited cop, keen to learn but often made comical mistakes. Although used as a slightly comical character, he did have a heart of gold. He had a fondness for Rosie Cartwright that was not reciprocated in the way he would like (there were signs at the end of the first part of Series 16 that this might change, but Rosie's departure ended this storyline). His parents (Sid and Mary, played by Graham Fellows and Karen Henthorn) appeared in the Series 16 episode "The Medium is the Message", in which his father was hospitalised for incurable alcoholism-related dementia.
- Clare Wille as Detective Sgt Rachel Dawson (series 16–18). A strict CID sergeant who transferred to the area from Middlesbrough, where some years previously she had had an affair with PC Rob Walker (which continued to cause some degree of tension between the two). Unlike the other regulars, she was not actually based in Ashfordly, though she appeared to live nearby, but became involved from time to time (and with increasing frequency in series 17 and 18, in which Clare Wille is credited as a main cast member) in particularly serious cases that the Ashfordly police are dealing with, or when the officers are themselves being investigated for alleged misconduct. Originally she was sometimes portrayed as a slightly interfering character, dismissing theories put forward by her juniors that later prove to be correct, but was later presented more as a respected colleague. In Series 18 she began an affair with PC Joe Mason immediately after Mason split up with girlfriend Nurse Cassidy. She was confirmed as being the only female sergeant in the North Riding CID, though her gender was not seen as an issue and she seemed to be generally accepted in her role by both CID and uniformed officers.
- Rupert Ward-Lewis as PC Don Wetherby (series 17–18). Wetherby arrived from Northallerton, originally to replace PC Joe Mason, the temporary Aidensfield village bobby. Soon after his arrival, Wetherby, PC Mason and PC Bellamy became involved in a confrontation with a man armed with a shotgun, during which Bellamy was shot dead. After initial guilt-ridden misgivings, Wetherby accepted a post to replace Bellamy at Ashfordly police station, allowing Joe Mason to keep his village job. In episode 17.8 ("Only Make Believe") it was revealed that Wetherby, a married man, had requested a transfer from Northallerton to escape harassment by a mentally ill woman (Lesley Ashton, played by Emma Atkins) who had become obsessed with him. He later separated from his wife, Sandy, after suspecting her of infidelity. He has at least one son. He was romantically linked with Gina Ward, whom he visited regularly on business related to the Police Widows' Fund, but Gina put a stop to the further development of their relationship on the grounds that it would not "look right" following so soon after the death of her former husband Bellamy.
- Frank Middlemass as Dr Alex Ferrenby (series 1–3). A kindly, traditional, old-fashioned country doctor. Ferrenby had promised to allow Kate Rowan to become his assistant, but when she actually arrived in Aidensfield at the start of series 1, he changed his mind because of doubts that the villagers would accept a female doctor. However, when Ferrenby got injured in episode 1.5 "Nowt but a Prank", he relented and decided to make Kate his junior partner, giving her a brass plaque with her name on. He began to suffer from confusion and loss of memory after sustaining a head injury in an attack during a burglary at his surgery and then being a casualty in a train crash. He suffered a brain haemorrhage (possibly brought on by the injuries) which led to him becoming disorientated, falling into a river and drowning while fishing. The village was shocked by his tragic death, especially Kate who had considered him more as a father figure rather than a senior colleague.
- Niamh Cusack as Dr Kate Rowan (series 1–5). Married to PC Nick Rowan, she moved with him from London to Aidensfield when he was made Police Constable for the area (Kate had a previous connection with the area, having been born nearby). A kind and caring person, tempered with occasional streaks of coyness and obstinacy, Kate expected to find a position practising medicine alongside Aidensfield's resident doctor, Dr Ferrenby. Dr Ferrenby was not initially encouraging to Kate because he doubted that the locals would accept a female doctor. However, he later took her on as his junior partner, and gave her a brass plaque with her name on it (to be added beneath the plaque bearing Dr Ferrenby's name at the medical practice). Kate took over the practice completely following Dr Ferrenby's death. She later joined forces with Whitby doctor James Radcliffe, and the two ran joint practices in Whitby and Aidensfield, an arrangement that placed strains on Kate's and Nick's marriage. Kate's discovery that she was pregnant was initially unwelcome to her, further straining her relationship with her husband, but dissatisfaction soon turned to delight as the couple looked forward to the prospect of starting a family. Tragedy struck when Kate discovered, during the pregnancy, that she was suffering from leukaemia. She kept the information about her illness a secret from Nick and the villagers, and failed to seek treatment because she was worried about its possible adverse effect on her unborn baby. Due to her sacrifice, she died, from related complications, shortly after giving birth to her and Nick's daughter Katie.
- David Michaels as Dr Neil Bolton (series 7–8). He originally worked as a ship's doctor, making a short appearance in an episode with Nick Rowan. He later came back to the area from overseas, initially to work at the local hospital, having four years earlier walked out on his wife Maggie after they had lost a baby to cot death. He initially met with a frosty reception from Maggie, but the two later resurrected their marriage. He died trying to save a child from a house fire (the child had in fact already been brought out through the back door, unseen by the crowd of observers). He left the pregnant Maggie to bring up their son.
- Clare Calbraith as Dr Tricia Summerbee (series 10–12). A very caring and compassionate doctor who had suffered from a heart condition since childhood. She was introduced to the series as a doctor at Ashfordly Hospital but she soon moved to take up practice in Aidensfield. Her relationship with PC Mike Bradley began when she showed sympathy over the break-up of his marriage. She and PC Bradley were about to become engaged when her accidental involvement in one of the cases that he was working on as a DC led her to attempt to assist him and the police on horseback. She fell off the horse and died from her injuries in Series 12.
- Francis Matthews as Dr James Alway (series 12–only). An elderly doctor at the Royal Free Hospital in Elsinby who briefly stood in as an Aidensfield locum after the death of Dr Summerbee. He appeared in only four episodes of Heartbeat and two episodes of The Royal.
- Aislín McGuckin as Dr Liz Merrick (series 12–14). Auburn-haired doctor of Irish origin. Moved to the Aidensfield practice from a London hospital in order to escape from an affair with a married man (who was later shot by his wife's brother). Of Aidensfield's seven doctors to date, she is one of only two to survive her time in the district. She married Lord Ashfordly's estate manager Ben Norton and moved with him to Kenya.
- Sophie Ward as Dr Helen Walker, formerly Helen Trent (series 14–15). Another in the long line of caring medical characters. Classy Helen is noted for her flowing golden tresses and her soft, posh voice. Helen moved to the area with her oily husband Matthew (Trent), but they soon separated and she embarked upon an affair with PC Rob Walker while awaiting a divorce but still in fact married. Subsequently Helen's divorce was finalised and the two were married. She was killed in an explosion at the Aidensfield police house at the end of the 15th series (2 July 2006). The explosion resulted from a homemade bomb planted by a disturbed schoolboy as revenge for the death of his dog during a police chase accident.
It is somewhat of a tradition that Aidensfield doctors should die in the series. To date, only two of the seven serving doctors has exited the series without meeting his or her maker. Dr Alex Ferrenby (Frank Middlemass) died by drowning; Dr Kate Rowan (Niamh Cusack) died of leukaemia-related pneumonia; Dr Neil Bolton (David Michaels) died rescuing a baby from a house fire; Dr Tricia Summerbee (Clare Calbraith) died in a horse riding accident; and Dr Helen Walker (Sophie Ward) died in a bomb explosion that ruined the Police house. This leaves Dr Liz Merrick (Aislín McGuckin) and the very short-serving Dr James Alway (Francis Matthews) as the only characters to date to serve as the doctor in Aidensfield and make it out alive.
Other medical staff
- Peter Firth as Dr James Radcliffe (series 4, only). A Whitby doctor who went into partnership with Kate Rowan. Following the death of his wife some years earlier, he was left to bring up his two daughters, Jennifer and Susan, alone.
- Kazia Pelka as Nurse Maggie Bolton (series 5–10). Caring district nurse. After her arrival in the series it was suggested that she would be paired off with the widowed Nick Rowan, though in the event they remained merely friends. She then had a very brief liaison with PC Mike Bradley, before her husband, Dr Neil Bolton, who had deserted her some years earlier, reappeared out of the blue. Maggie was at first hostile to Neil, but she later relented and the couple restarted their marriage. They went on to have a son, Sam, born after Neil's death. Maggie left the series after accepting a hospital job.
- Sarah Tansey as Jenny Merton, formerly Jenny Latimer (series 11–14). Pharmacist who joined the series when she moved from a hospital job to help out at Dr Summerbee's Aidensfield surgery. Shortly after arriving in Aidensfield she briefly dated PC Phil Bellamy. Jenny later married Sergeant Dennis Merton. She left the series, alongside her husband, when she suffered a mental breakdown and was taken into care.
- Lisa Kay as Nurse Carol Cassidy (series 16–18). Nurse Carol was abandoned by her parents as a baby and grew up in an orphanage. She took over the Aidensfield Surgery after the sudden death of Dr Helen Trent. Shortly after her debut in the show she split up with her fiancé Frank, an often-absent naval officer. Like her predecessor Helen Trent, she became romantically involved with PC Rob Walker. The two parted tearfully when Walker left the show at the end of series 16, after Walker failed to persuade her to accompany him on a move away from Aidensfield linked to his promotion to sergeant. Despite flirtations with new Aidensfield PC Joe Mason, she embarked upon a relationship with hospital doctor Chris Oakley. Following the break-up of this relationship she paired up with Mason, only for the two to later argue and separate, then almost get back together again, before the final series ended. Actress Lisa Kay had previously appeared in episode 14.6 "Wrecked" in a one-off role as Emma Bryden, a very brief love interest for Phil Bellamy.
- Leon Ockenden as Dr Chris Oakley (series 17–only). Dr Oakley, a doctor at Ashfordly General Hospital, was introduced in series 17 when he was knocked off his bike by a myopic driver under the care of Nurse Cassidy. Romance blossomed between the two until an ethical disagreement over a pregnant teenager caused them to split up.
Aidensfield Arms staff
The Aidensfield Arms, the village pub, was originally owned by Lord Ashfordly and run by George Ward. In the second series, George was assisted by his niece Gina Ward who became the pub licensee after his death between the sixth and the seventh series. Former Sergeant Oscar Blaketon later became the pub's owner, and he and Gina subsequently ran the pub jointly, assisted from time to time by members of Gina's family.
- Stuart Golland as George Ward, publican (series 1–6). Landlord and original publican of the Aidensfield Arms and uncle of Gina Ward. The easy-going, warm-hearted but sometimes hot-tempered and stubborn George was popular in Aidensfield, and he had a highly regarded status in the community. In the very first episode, he had problems accepting the newly arrived police constable Nick Rowan, but his opinion changed when Nick arrested some mods that were trying to ruin the pub, and the two went on to become good friends. At the end of the first series, George was involved in a car crash which was the result of his bad heart condition, and Dr Kate Rowan advised him to rest and slow down. George was worried that he would have to give up working, but was relieved when his niece Gina Ward arrived in the second series to assist him in the pub. George had an up-and-down friendship with Claude Jeremiah Greengrass; the two were sometimes good friends but often became enemies in Greengrass' money-making schemes. George had a huge crush for Nick Rowan's mother Ruby when she arrived, and also for Kate Rowan's aunt Eileen Reynolds. George was implicated in Greengrass's poaching, often buying pheasants and fish which Claude had poached from Lord Ashfordly's estate. George departed Aidensfield, and the show, at the end of series six, leaving Gina to run the pub by herself. It was reported that, unable to continue working due to illness, he had moved to Sidmouth to be cared for by Gina's aunt Mary. Some time later, his off-screen death was reported. Gina returned home from his funeral in the opening episode of the eighth series.
- Tricia Penrose as Georgina ("Gina") Ward, later Gina Bellamy (series 2–thereafter). Spirited Liverpudlian, landlady of the Aidensfield Arms. The tearaway niece of publican George Ward, Gina was sent to live in Aidensfield with her uncle as a condition of her probation after having been convicted of receiving stolen goods. She quickly fitted into local life, assisting her uncle with running the pub and dropping her previous rebellious ways. She became the licensee of the pub after the death of her uncle. Gina was unlucky in love, and had a string of failed romances. The great love of her life was the policeman PC Phil Bellamy, but she had a warm relationship with village bobby PC Mike Bradley in the seventh series, and she also dated the much younger tearaway lad Steve Adams in the same series. She had a passionate love affair with Irishman Andy Ryan, but when she found out that he was married with a family, she broke off their relationship. Gina also dated the much younger PC Tom Nicholson in the eleventh series. After an on-off relationship with Bellamy, including a failed engagement in series 10, Gina fell pregnant to him in series 13. She gave birth to a premature baby boy named Daniel who died within two days, and their engagement was then again broken off. Phil and Gina remained on good terms, even if sometimes a little awkward in each other's company. Bellamy went on to marry Debbie Black, and Gina found a steady boyfriend in Jack Hollins. However, neither of these relationships lasted, and Gina and Phil's romance was rekindled in Series 16. They were finally married in the Series 16 episode "The Dreams That You Dream" (broadcast June 2007). Due to police regulations she was obliged on her marriage to officially give up the licenceeship of the Aidensfield Arms to Oscar Blaketon, but in practice her role there remained unchanged. In series 17 her husband Bellamy was shot dead while on duty. Now a widow, Gina was contemplating leaving Aidensfield and its painful memories and returning to Liverpool, but she decided to stay, as shown at the end of episode 17.7 ("Burying The Past"). She later found out she was again pregnant with Phil's child, and doubts about whether to terminate the pregnancy caused her great anguish. However, she eventually gave birth to their son, Philip Oscar Bellamy, in the 17th series finale ("Oscar's Birthday"). Gina then became tentatively romantically linked with new Ashfordly PC Don Wetherby, but curtailed the relationship after deciding that it was too soon after Bellamy's death.
- Derek Fowlds as Oscar Blaketon — see under Ashfordly police sergeants, above.
- Arbel Jones (series 8–9) as Gina Ward's aunt, and sister of George Ward, often named in cast lists as Mary Ward but referred to as Mary Clarke in at least one episode ("Echoes of the Past") and credited on-screen simply as "Aunty Mary". She arrived in Aidensfield to help Gina run the Aidensfield Arms after George Ward's death. She left the series to take up a job as a hotel manager in Sidmouth, where she had previously run a guest house.
- Christine Bottomley as Susie Ward (series 12, only). The niece of Gina Ward, Susie was dispatched from Manchester to stay with Gina in order to get her away from the influences of a bad crowd of people.
- Nikki Sanderson as Dawn Bellamy (series 17–18). Niece of the now deceased Phil Bellamy, her father sent her to stay with Gina Ward at the Aidensfield Arms in order to get her away from the influence of a bad crowd of people in her native Manchester. Her first screen appearance was in episode "Missing Persons", broadcast on 3 August 2008. A lively and somewhat ditzy character, she became the object of muted attentions from PC Geoff Younger. She occasionally became a business enemy to Peggy Armstrong.
"Lovable rogue" lineage
- Bill Maynard as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass (series 1–10). Dishevelled and curmudgeonly yet lovable old rogue, always getting into scrapes. He apparently had some sort of farm or smallholding, but seemed to spend little time working this, preferring instead to poach game from Lord Ashfordly's estate and engage in dubious dealings with local low-life. In Episode 3.30 "Bringing It All Back Home", Greengrass was investigated by the Inland Revenue, and it was revealed that in the 1950s he had sold a piece of his land to the Ministry of Defence for £25,000 which explains his financial security, although he hadn't paid any Income Tax for at least the previous 12 years! He was usually to be seen accompanied by his faithful dog Alfred, a lurcher. Although he often had troubles with the police, he did come to have a (slightly grudging) respect for Nick Rowan (or "Ronan" as he habitually mispronounced it), who would often warn him in advance to keep a low profile if there was any kind of trouble brewing. His reputation as a borderline criminal appeared to be common knowledge among the villagers and police but nobody in particular showed any real dislike towards him. Sergeant Blaketon was the one exception as he utterly despised Greengrass and went to great pains to permanently put a stop to the latter's activities. At first, Greengrass was used mostly for comic relief, but after some time he became a central character with his own intrigues, schemes and storylines. Claude had a brother called Cyril Isaiah Greengrass, played by Stratford Johns, who appeared a couple of times, and a sister, Isabelle Christie, widow of a West Indian cricketer Vivian Christie. Bill Maynard reluctantly left the series due to poor health, with the producers unwilling to take the risk of insuring him to be on set. The producers offered to have a departing episode written for him, but he declined and so the character's exit (to join his sister on a cruise in the Caribbean) was explained without his appearing. Maynard went on to reprise his popular role of Greengrass in the first series of The Royal. While Heartbeat is well known for quickly forgetting characters who have departed, Greengrass is unusual in continuing to be mentioned by his former sidekick David Stockwell in subsequent series, as both Vernon Scripps and Peggy Armstrong have tried to use Greengrass's old tricks in their schemes.
- Geoffrey Hughes as Vernon Scripps (series 10–14; 16). Small-time businessman and entrepreneur, and half brother to Bernie Scripps (though the two are entirely dissimilar in both appearance and nature). A rotund, colourful, larger-than-life character, he replaced Claude Greengrass as the author of the hare-brained schemes which drive the show's various sub-plots. Vernon, who owned a small share in Bernie's garage business, arrived in Aidensfield having not seen his half-brother for 15 years. He moved in with David Stockwell as a lodger in the house that Greengrass had vacated (which he later bought). After numerous failed business schemes, he landed a windfall by discovering very valuable modern art and seemed set for life. But he became a Lloyd's "name" and agreed to insure an oil tanker (the real-life Torrey Canyon), which was lost at sea, and so lost all the money he had gained. He was devastated, but it didn't take long before he began with his get-rich-quick schemes again. Vernon finally left the series in dramatic style—faking his own suicide to escape the taxman (though the taxman himself was in fact a con artist). In Series 16 he made a brief reappearance in Aidensfield, hoping to claim an inheritance from the estate of his recently deceased sister. It was revealed that he had established a new life running a beach bar in Spain, and wanted David to return with him. Aunt Peggy (see below) eventually persuaded David to stay. Vernon also has a half-sister called George (Georgina), who appeared in episode 12.10 ("Horses for Courses"); Bernie, Vernon and George all share the same father.
- Gwen Taylor as Peggy Armstrong (series 14–thereafter). David Stockwell's aunt (known as "Aunt Peggy"). Indomitable old battleaxe, created in the Claude Greengrass / Vernon Scripps tradition to dream up colourful wheezes and bully David Stockwell. She arrived in Aidensfield out of the blue and promptly proceeded to impose herself on David, moving in with him and ordering him about. Like Greengrass before her, she is often to be found poaching game from Lord Ashfordly's estate, but somehow always manages to avoid prosecution.
Aidensfield Garage staff
In early series, Aidensfield Garage featured only peripherally; it was run by Malcolm Mostyn (as late as episode 7.6, long after his apparent departure, a sign outside the premises still read "Mostyn's Garage and Funeral Services"). In episode 4.3, "Mid Day Sun", the garage was apparently being run by Jim Swaby (played by Ray Ashcroft) who contracted rabies and died. Evenually the garage came into the hands of Bernie Scripps and took on a much more prominent role in the storylines.
- Peter Benson as Bernard ("Bernie") Scripps (series 5–thereaafter). Proprietor of Aidensfield Garage, mechanic, taxi operator and funeral director, though in later series he increasingly appeared to be long past retirement age and incapable of undertaking such a workload. A melancholy, tall and gaunt individual, but level-headed and kind, he was often roped (reluctantly) into madcap escapades by Claude Greengrass and (later) his half-brother Vernon Scripps, and, more recently still, Aunt Peggy. The schemes inevitably go wrong, with Bernie usually left to pick up the pieces. He was also something of a father figure to his longtime assistant David Stockwell. In the series 18 episode "Guilty Secrets", Bernie discovered that he has a long-lost daughter, Ruth, whom he had never met. Bernie engineered a meeting but did not reveal his true identity.
- David Lonsdale as David Stockwell (first appeared as an occasional character series 3, 4 and 5-7 and regular 8–thereafter). Comical village buffoon. Originally it was subtly suggested that David had severe learning disabilities and possibly some kind of mental disability, having to be cared for by his mother, Florence (who appeared in a single episode, 3.8 "Endangered Species", in which his father was said to be unknown). However, as his appearances became more regular these elements were toned down, and he grew into more of a comedy character: clumsy, slow-witted, easily-led and uneducated, but with the proverbial "heart of gold". Due to his gullible nature he became a dogsbody first to Claude Greengrass, then Vernon Scripps, then Peggy Armstrong. David's signature gesture is to whip his hat off when he meets another person, or to scrunch it up in his hands when he is nervous or worried. David earned a living of sorts by doing odd jobs such as making deliveries, digging graves, gardening, and driving a taxi (originally for Vernon Scripps, though after the latter's departure from the series David was apparently self-employed as a taxi driver, with his base being Bernie's garage, where he also acts as a mechanic). David originally "worked" for and lived with Claude Greengrass, and he took on Greengrass' house when the latter emigrated. Later Vernon Scripps moved in with David, until he too left the series. David's last "house guest" was his aunt Peggy (Armstrong), who took it upon herself to move in with him. For many years David was accompanied by a lurcher dog called Alfred, which originally belonged to Greengrass. Alfred's death upset David greatly, but the grief was lessened by Peggy's gift of a new dog "Deefer" (from "D for dog"). In Series 17, a pregnant Gina Ward informed David that she wanted him to be her baby's godfather.
- Vanessa Hehir as Rosemary ("Rosie") Cartwright (series 13–16). Mechanic, who worked for Bernie Scripps at Aidensfield Garage. Implausibly young and pretty to be getting her nails dirty in Bernie's workshop. Bernie was the only person who called her "Rosemary"; to everyone else she was "Rosie". Rosie lived on a farm with her father and two brothers, though her family life was rarely touched upon. She was unlucky in love despite her looks, with one suitor trying to hurry their physical relationship, another, a vet, having to move away to Birmingham to look after his dying father, and yet another, a motorcycling vicar, leaving to start a mission in India. A brief flirtation with PC Bellamy did not develop. PC Geoff Younger also displayed a keenness for Rosie, which was generally not reciprocated (there were signs towards the end of the first part of Series 16 that this might change, but Rosie's departure prevented this storyline from developing further). It was also suggested on occasion that David Stockwell had a crush on her. In the Series 17 episode "Love Story", the vicar (Jamie Finn, played by Nolan Hemmings) returned. He tried to persuade Rosie to join him in India, but Rosie turned down the proposal and instead left Aidensfield to go travelling with three Australian sheep shearers. This was initially meant to be only a temporary absence, but she later informed Bernie by letter that she would not be returning. Rosie wound up in Queensland with one of the shearers (Mick MacDonald, played by Blair McDonough) but went missing after the two separated. After no word had been heard from Rosie for several weeks, PC Mason and DS Dawson were dispatched to Australia to mount a search (accompanied by Nurse Carol Cassidy who was making a simultaneous search for her long lost brother). Two episodes depicting the search were filmed in Australia in August 2008 (aired May 2009). Mason and Dawson eventually discovered that Rosie had been kidnapped by a man living in the outback who had kept several women in small cages and left them to die. Rosie's body was not found but her mutilated passport picture suggested that she had met an unpleasant end.
Vanessa Hehir also appears on earlier episode "Gin a Body, Meet a Body" as Gail Smethurst.
Other regular characters
- Alice Jones as Katie Rowan (series 5–7). Daughter of PC Nick Rowan and the late Dr Kate Rowan. She was named Sarah at birth but Nick later named her Katie in her mother's memory (her full name at baptism was Katherine Sarah Rowan). When Katie was a pre-schooler, she was taken, by her father, Sgt. Nick Rowan, and her stepmother, Jo, to Canada with them, when her father joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
- Anne Stallybrass as Eileen Reynolds (one-off appearance series 3; regular series 5–7). Kate Rowan's aunt, a motherly middle-aged lady. She first appeared when she visited Nick and Kate Rowan in order to give Kate a legacy from her uncle (Eileen's late husband). Eileen attended Kate's funeral in episode 5.3, and she took Kate's death very hard. She later returned to Aidensfield to assist Nick Rowan in the rearing of Katie (Nick's and Kate's daughter), taking over that role from Nick's mother Ruby. Eileen then stayed on after the marriage of Nick and Jo Weston to continue to assist with Katie. She briefly "dated" Oscar Blaketon, though their relationship was more one of friendship than romance. She left Aidensfield after rekindling a Second World War romance with a Frenchman (Antonin Clarion, played by Robert Langdon Lloyd).
- Juliette Gruber as Joanna "Jo" Rowan (née Weston) (series 5–7). Teacher at Aidensfield Primary School. Nick Rowan met her a while after the death of his wife Kate. Although he was still recovering from the sudden loss of Kate, the pair struck up a friendship which led to romance. They eventually got married, and shortly afterwards left the series to go to Canada where she continued her career as a teacher. Jo found out she was pregnant with Nicks baby son. She calls him Nicholas after her husband.
- Fiona Dolman as Jacqueline "Jackie" Rosemary Bradley (née Lambert) (series 8–10). Smart, hard-working and successful solicitor, often acting on behalf of individuals under arrest. She met PC Mike Bradley through her work, and they married, rather in haste. Jackie always seemed slightly ambiguous about the relationship, and she felt "suffocated" in the isolated rural community. Conflicts of interest also arose from her position defending criminals arrested by her husband. She later started an affair with one of her clients, whom she had known only a matter of weeks. Following this, she and Mike Bradley divorced and she left the series.
- Martin Ledwith as Andy Ryan (series 9, only). Hunky smooth-talking itinerant Irish professional diver who worked on an oil rig and became romantically involved with Gina Ward. Andy was initially suspected of the rape of a local teenager which caused a rift with Gina till he was found innocent. Gina refused to talk to Andy after she suspected him of cheating on her but relented when Andy heroically dived off of a pier, into the wintry sea, to rescue a local doctor who was attempting suicide. Andy was the best friend of a character played by Gary Barlow. Gina finally ended the relationship when it transpired that he was also keeping a wife and family.
- Richard Lintern as Ben Norton (series 13 and 14). Lord Ashfordly's estate manager. He married Aidensfield GP Dr Liz Merrick and the pair emigrated to Kenya.
- Murray Head as Jack Hollins (series 15 and 16). A liberal and somewhat intellectual artist and art teacher. After meeting Gina Ward in the Aidensfield Arms, Jack persuaded her to attend his art classes. Claiming to have recognised some talent, he continued to encourage her artistic aspirations and the two eventually became romantically involved – despite Jack being some years her senior. They fell out after he attempted to exhibit a nude portrait of her against her wishes (the painting was eventually burned by Gina and Rosie). He then left the series, but made a brief reappearance with his new fiancée in Series 16 ("The Dreams That You Dream", 24 June 2007) when he attended Gina's wedding to wish her well.
- Josefina Gabrielle as Debbie Black, also known as Debbie Bellamy (series 15, only). Former "wife" of PC Phil Bellamy, and mother of Jane, Susan and PJ Black. Her marriage to Phil eventually proved to be bigamous and therefore invalid. Barry Black, her previous husband and father of her children, had moved to South Africa to escape debt, and not died in a motorcycle accident as she had claimed. At the end of the 15th series, Barry turned up in Aidensfield to take Debbie and her children with him to start a new life in South Africa. Debbie suffered from incipient alcoholism, but she left the series before this storyline could be fully developed.
This section lists other characters who have appeared in more than one episode.
- Jack Deam as Alan Maskell (1992). Local tearaway lad, engaged and later married to Sandra Murray. PC Nick Rowan went out of his way to help Alan—providing references for a bank loan to start a motor repair business, and then supporting him when he was falsely accused of being an accessory to car theft. His wife Sandra lost their child to a miscarriage when Alan was in London, but he returned and they seemed to be reconciled; in their very last scene in the series, Alan walks to her hospital bed and gives her a hug.
- Eileen O'Brien as Susan Maskell (credited as "Mrs Maskell") (1992). Mother of Alan Maskell. Careworn housewife, overburdened with children.
- Barrie Rutter as Walter Maskell (credited as "Mr Maskell") (1992). Boorish husband of Susan Maskell and father of Alan Maskell. A local drunk who does not take care of his family.
- Suzanne Hitchmough as Sandra Maskell, formerly Sandra Murray (1992). Girlfriend, later wife of Alan Maskell. She became pregnant soon after the marriage, but lost the baby to a miscarriage.
- Anne Rye as Angela Hamilton ("Miss Hamilton") (1992–1993). An elderly busybody and local magistrate.
- Rupert Vansittart as Lord Ashfordly (1992–2010). Minor aristocrat. A "get off my land" character, his seat is Ashfordly Hall, an old country house surrounded by a large estate. He complains on occasion about a lack of funds despite being able to employ numerous maids, housekeepers, gamekeepers, gardeners, chauffeurs etc. His first name is Charles and he appears to be a bachelor, though he has at least one son called Rupert (played by Marc Warren, who appeared in one early episode as an arrogant young toff). He also has a sister called Patricia ("Patty") who appeared a few times, and in episode 12.9 ("Many Splendoured Thing"), he "married" a woman who turned out to already have a husband as well as a criminal past. His valuable assets made him something of a magnet for local crime down the years, and incidents involving poachings or burglaries on his estate became one of the show's more clichéd storylines. One of his most amusing incidents was when he was sold some magic mushrooms and ran around Aidensfield with a shotgun.
- Successively, "Tramp", "Rosie" and "Boots" as Alfred (1992–2005). A Lurcher dog, originally belonging to Claude Greengrass and inherited by David Stockwell when Greengrass left the series. He became David's constant companion and appeared in numerous episodes. In Christmas episodes he was traditionally dressed up like a tiny reindeer, with fake antlers. After a long and happy life, Alfred finally died of heart failure in episode 15.6 ("The End Of The Road") first broadcast on 30 October 2005.
- Andy Abrahams as unnamed local magistrate (1992–2003).
- Mike Kelly as Malcolm Mostyn (1993). Original proprietor of Aidensfield Garage.
- Dean Gatiss as Graham Blaketon (1993–1994; 4 episodes). Oscar Blaketon's teenage son, brought up by his mother following his parents' divorce. Graham first appeared at the beginning of the third series in the episode "Speed Kills" where Oscar is off work watching Graham playing a football game at school. Then Graham appeared again in the episode "Father's Day" where he is arrested for mugging a drug dealer, then again at the end of that series where Oscar tries to spend more time with him but all ends in a row.
- Sue Holderness as Joan Forrester (1993; 2 episodes). Oscar Blaketon's former wife. Mother of Graham. A very unhappy woman who remained bitter about her divorce from Oscar, blaming him for their broken marriage.
- Russel Boulter as Inspector Crossley (1993–1994; 3 episodes). An officious police inspector, loathed by the Aidensfield police, who conspire to get him sent away in disgrace.
- Melanie Kilburn as Rosie Tinniswood (1993, 1995; 2 episodes), vulgar wife of local villain Terry Tinniswood. The character also appeared in an episode of the 18th series, portrayed by another actress.
- Karen Meagher as Inspector Murchison (1994; 7 episodes). Inspector Crossley's equally officious replacement.
- Julia Lane as Christine Ferguson (1994; 6 episodes). Dr James Radcliffe's receptionist. She was very protective of Dr Radcliffe and initially hostile towards his partnership with Kate Rowan.
- Lucy Robinson as Jennifer Radcliffe (1994; 3 episodes). Dr James Radcliffe's young daughter.
- Emelye Robinson as Susan Radcliffe (1994; 2 episodes). Dr James Radcliffe's young daughter.
- Lesley Nicol as Rita Stirling (1995; 3 episodes). Local woman who helped Kate Rowan on her return from hospital with her baby, shortly before Kate's death.
- Jenny Agutter as Susannah Temple-Richards (1994, 1996; 2 episodes). Upper-class local woman who was convicted of accidentally killing her husband.
- Harry Beety as Joseph Walker (1995; 9 episodes). Elderly local character; Rita Stirling's father.
- Diane Langton as Ruby Rowan (1995–97; 6 episodes). Nick Rowan's mother. A feisty East-Ender, she came to Aidensfield to help look after baby Katie Rowan after Kate Rowan's death. She made an unsuccessful play for Oscar Blaketon and also unsuccessfully tried to persuade Nick to return with her to London. A colourful and lively character, whom George Ward had a huge crush on.
- William Ash as Joe Norton (1995; 2 episodes). Local teenage criminal. He sabotaged the village in the opening of the fifth series, and burned down the caravan of an old, travelling lady. He returned in the end of the fifth series when he suddenly died of a drug overdose.
- Mark Addy as "Norman" (1995–96; 2 episodes). Claude Greengrass's nephew. Arrived in the fifth series, showing his dart skills, resulting in Greengrass arranging a local darts match for high stakes which they unfortunately lost. Returned for a one-off appearance in the sixth series.
- Mary Healey as Mrs Watkins (1996; 4 episodes). Headmistress of Aidensfield Primary School and Jo Weston's boss. In episode 6.4 the school signboard shows her as "Mrs A. Watkins", but she was referred to as "Janet" in episode 6.6 and the initial on the sign was later changed to "J".
- Elizabeth Bennett as Joyce Jowett (1996–2009, 16 episodes). Local councillor, recently widowed in her first appearance. A formidable and opinionated lady who likes to have her own way. She insists on being addressed as "Councillor Jowett", as she very firmly tells anyone who dares to call her "Mrs. Jowett". She is a friend of Oscar Blaketon and the two appear to have a deeper though mostly unexpressed affection for each other. In one episode she is shown working as a head librarian.
- Kenneth Cranham as Charlie Wallace (1996; 2 episodes). Crooked local haulier to whom PC Ventress owed gambling debts.
- Bernard Gallagher as Graham Weston (1996–1997, 10 episodes), father of Jo Weston. He was much more happy about Jo's marriage to Nick than his wife, and he actually liked Nick very much as a son-in-law. His wife's death in the seventh series hit him very hard. He left Aidensfield to spend his retirement years visiting countries in the Far East which he had been to during the war.
- Wanda Ventham as Fiona Weston (1996–1997, 4 episodes), mother of Jo Weston. She was vehemently opposed to Jo's marriage to Nick Rowan, believing that he was not good enough for her daughter. She died of a brain haemorrhage shortly before the wedding took place.
- Simon Molloy as DI Shiner (1992, 1997–2006; 20 episodes). A keen CID boss, who is called out when something big is happening in Aidensfield.
- Dominic Rickhards as Steve Adams (1997; 5 episodes). Son of a local farmer who formed a brief relationship with Gina Ward after offering to help her out behind the bar at the Aidensfield Arms. They split up after he began overreaching himself and challenging her authority to run the pub.
- Carol Royle as Lady Patricia Brewster (1997–2003; 4 episodes). Sister of Lord Ashfordly and occasional visitor to Ashfordly Hall. An unhappy woman with an alcohol problem and a failed marriage to a rich American.
- Charlotte Mitchell as Bessie Bellamy (1997–1999; 4 episodes). PC Phil Bellamy's grandmother. Credited as "Granny Bellamy" and referred to as "Ethel" in at least one episode (episode 7.4).
- Stratford Johns as Cyril Isaiah Greengrass (1997, 1998; 2 episodes). Claude Greengrass's brother; scheming and tangling.
- Alan Halsall as Tevor Chivers (1998–1999; 4 episodes) and Stefan Podolchuk as Stuart Chivers (1998–1999; 4 episodes). Local delinquent boys.
- Lesley Clare O'Neill as Doreen Chivers (1998–1999; 3 episodes). Vulgar mother of Stuart and Trevor.
- Keeley Forsyth as Sue Driscoll (1998, 2000; 7 episodes). Short-lived secretary to Sergeant Craddock. PC Phil Bellamy had a huge crush on her, but she considered him just a friend. She apparently later changed her mind, however, and made a one-episode return to the area with the aim of hooking Bellamy – only to lose out to Gina Ward in the competition for his affections.
- Phillippa Wilson as Penny Craddock (1998–1999, 2000, 2002; 7 episodes). Sergeant Craddock's wife, who left him in the 8th series, and then returned in the 11th series to reconcile with him. They decided to try again and left Ashfordly, and the series.
- Maggie Tagney as Gladys Smethurst (1998–2000; 5 episodes). Assistant to Oscar Blaketon in the Aidensfield village Post Office.
- Oliver Pyrah (1999–2000) and Jack Ferguson (2000–2001) as baby Sam Bolton, son of Nurse Maggie Bolton and Dr Neil Bolton. Born after Neil's tragic death.
- Paul Opacic as Graham Rysinski (2000; 3 episodes). A brief love interest for Maggie Bolton. The two met while Maggie was treating his dying mother.
- Susan Jameson as Edwina Lambert (2000–2001; 2 episodes). Mother of Jackie Bradley (née Lambert). She disapproved of her daughter's marriage to a humble police constable.
- Barbara Bolton as Mrs Kellett (2001–2005; 9 episodes). Lord Ashfordly's housekeeper. Always somewhat strange, and with an interest in the occult, it was discovered in episode 14.26 ("Bin Man") that five years earlier she had shot her brother, who was blackmailing her, and kept his body in a freezer. She was then carted off, not to be seen again.
- William Tapley as Adrian Miller (2001). Businessman whom Jackie Bradley met when defending him against a false charge of indecent assault. The two began an affair and within weeks Jackie left her husband PC Mike Bradley to be with him.
- Beatrice Kelley as Olive Winstanley (6 episodes, 2003–2009). Elderly local lady.
- Anita Carey as Barbara "Babs" Crane, PC Crane's mother (2 episodes, 2003). A hippyish "free spirit" who had split up with Crane's army father to lead a dissolute and nomadic existence. She turned up in Aidensfield where she sold some modern art to Vernon Scripps, which later earned him a fortune. She then left for California.
- Trevor Ray as William Barraclough (2 episodes, 2003–2004). Local old codger.
- Jane Hazlegrove as Diane Crichard (4 episodes, 2004). Gina Ward's cousin. She came to help out at the Aidensfield Arms while Gina was pregnant and following the death of her premature baby Daniel.
- Helena Calvert as Clare Owen (4 episodes; 2005). A nurse at Ashfordly Hospital, she treated Rob Walker for injuries and became a short-lived love interest for him. They broke up over her history of recreational drug use and association with a doctor who was stealing amphetamines from the hospital.
- Victor McGuire as Brian Parker (2005, two episodes), seedy and unscrupulous Ashfordly Gazette reporter.
- Tim Brooke-Taylor as Ronnie Smethers (2005, 2008, 2009; 4 episodes). A business associate of Peggy Armstrong.
- Lauren Drummond as Jane Black (2005–2006). Teenage stepdaughter of PC Phil Bellamy.
- Gabriella Dixon as Susan Black (2005–2006). 11-year-old daughter of Debbie Bellamy, sister of Jane and Peter Black and stepdaughter of PC Phil Bellamy.
- Jack Ferguson as Peter Black (2005–2006). Son of Debbie Bellamy and stepson of PC Phil Bellamy.
- Unknown cat(s) as Heathcliff the cat in at least three episodes. Blaketon's cat. Found in a bag in a stream by Ventress (in episode 3.6, "The Frighteners"). After at first appearing hostile towards it, Blaketon kept the kitten for himself. It (or at least a cat brought into the police station by Blaketon called Heathcliff) later appeared in at least one more episode towards the end of Blaketon's role as Sergeant. Blaketon later says that he once had a cat, but that it ran away once he moved into the post office.
- "Susanna" as Deefer (from "D for dog") (2005/2006–2010). David Stockwell's dog; lives with David and his Aunt Peggy. She was introduced into the series after the death of David's previous dog Alfred (originally owned by Claude Greengrass).
Over the years, a number of well-known guest stars have made one-off appearances in Heartbeat, either in cameo roles or more substantial single-episode parts. These include Richard Todd (legendary actor and WW2 hero), David Essex (who played a traveller, or tinker), David McCallum, Charlotte Church, John Nettles, Philip Jackson, Geraldine Newman, Siobhan Finneran, John Simm, Gary Barlow, David Dickinson, Todd Carty, Philip Glenister, Lulu, Alan Price, George Cole, Ray Illingworth, Brian Close, Margaret Tyzack, Roy Dotrice, Roland Gift, Ralf Little, Dickie Bird, Daniel Craig, Jean Alexander, Geoffrey Bayldon, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Twiggy, Benedict Cumberbatch, ((Russ Abbott)), impressionist Jon Culshaw, and even the Grim Reaper in the final episode of Series 18.
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