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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Byker Grove actor found dead
Byker Grove logo
There have been 13 Byker Grove series
A teenage actor from the BBC children's programme Byker Grove has been found dead at the foot of a bridge.

Duncan Ford, 16, was seen falling from Wearmouth Bridge, in Sunderland, on Thursday.

Police positively identified the body on Monday and say his death is not being treated as suspicious.

Duncan, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, played new character Alan, but was not due on television screens until the new series starts later this year.

'Bright future'

The producer of the popular drama programme, Edward Pugh, said: "The cast and crew of Byker Grove are shocked and deeply saddened at the news of Duncan's death.

"He was a lovely young man with a bright future.

"Duncan will be missed by everyone who knew him."

A spokeswoman for the BBC said Duncan played a "peripheral" character in three episodes of the new series and all filming for his part had been completed.

The new series will be shown on screens in September, but it is not yet known whether Duncan's scenes will be transmitted.

Popular boy

A statement from the BBC said: "The entire team at Byker Grove are shocked and devastated at the news of Duncan's death.

"Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends at this time".

Pupils and staff at Heaton Manor School, where Duncan was a pupil, have been offered counselling.

Headteacher John Dryden said: "This has come as a great shock to the school.

"Duncan was a very talented and popular pupil.

"We offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family.

"They are in our thoughts and prayers."

Ant and Dec

The highly-rated BBC drama, produced by Zenith North since 1987, is filmed in Newcastle and is aimed at a teenage audience on CBBC.

It centres on the goings-on at a local youth club and has tackled hard-hitting storylines over the years.

The programme launched the careers of media stars Ant and Dec and actress Donna Air, who all appeared in the programme in the early 1990s.

A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said his death was not being treated a suspicious "at this stage" and said an inquest would be held in due course.


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