Actor Ian Richardson - seen here as General Burgoyne in a 1987 TV production of Bernard Shaw's The Devil's Disciple - has died suddenly at the age of 72.
A founder member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, his many stage roles include Bertram in All's Well That Ends Well - a classic production filmed by the BBC in 1968.
A long and successful career in television followed, his performance as double agent Bill Haydon in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy proving particularly memorable.
However, it is his defining role as devious chief whip Francis Urquhart in the BBC's 1990 political thriller House of Cards for which he is best remembered.
The Urquhart character proved so popular with audiences that Richardson reprised his role in 1993's To Play the King, and again two years later in The Final Cut.
Having twice played Sherlock Holmes in the 1980s, Richardson was ideally cast as Dr Joseph Bell, his supposed inspiration, in 2000 series Murder Rooms.
Richardson's imposing presence was also put to good use in the BBC's adaptation of fantasy novel Gormenghast, in which he played Lord Groan.
Another BBC literary adaptation, this time of Charles Dickens' Bleak House, saw him don a judge's wig to play the small but telling role of the Chancellor.
Ian Richardson's saturnine features often saw him cast in villainous roles such as Canon Black in the supernatural TV series Strange.
In person, though, he was quite different from his on-screen persona - as a 2006 appearance on Sunday AM alongside Chancellor and fellow Scot Gordon Brown proved.