THE writer behind the successful long-running television series Heartbeat has died.

Peter Walker, often better known under his pen name of Nicholas Rhea, wrote 130 books on his experiences of nearly 30 years as a rural police officer in North Yorkshire, which were then made into the hit television series.

He also wrote crime novels, folk stories of the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales and a wealth of books on the county's countryside and legends and had been a Gazette & Herald columnist for about 40 years.

Peter, who was 80, lived with his wife Rhoda,in Ampleforth.

He also leaves four children Janet, Andrew, Tricia and Sarah and eight grandchildren.

His youngest daughter Sarah said: “He was very humble, very kind and an amazing dad who encouraged his children in whatever direction they wanted to go and gave us all the courage to travel our own path.”