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Last Updated:  Thursday, 3 April, 2003, 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK
Sixties icon joins EastEnders
Hywel Bennett
Hywel Bennett will play an Eastend gangster
Hywel Bennett is to be the second actor from a small west Wales town to grace TV's Albert Square when he joins Eastenders.

The 57-year-old, best known as the lead in the long-running television sitcom Shelley, is to play Jack Dalton, a feared gangland boss who oversees the East End of London.

The soap's producers say he will be "central to a key storyline through the summer."

Born in Garnant, the star follows in the footsteps of Richard Elis who played the role of Huw Edwards in the soap opera between 1996 and 1999.

Bennett became a 1960s icon when he starred with Hayley Mills and John Mills in the classic Boulting Brothers film, 'The Family Way'.

Richard Elis played Huw

In 1969 he appeared in 'The Virgin Soldiers' with Lynn Redgrave and Nigel Davenport and starred again with Hayley Mills in 1972 in the film 'Endless Night'.

Television hits include 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy', 'Pennies From Heaven', and 'Karaoke' and more recently 'The Bill'.

"I've attempted almost everything in my marathon career, but have never tackled a soap before," he said.

"I consider EastEnders to be the best there is and regard it as another notch on the bedpost".

Elis, who for more than three years was a central character in the show as partner in crime Lenny, left in 1999 when his character ran off with Carrie to start a new life together.

Brought up in the Amman Valley he married at Clyne Chapel in Swansea a year before he left the show and went on to carve out a stage career after leaving the series.

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