Torchwood star Murray Melvin has died at the age of 90, with Russell T Davies and John Barrowman leading tributes to the “wonderful” actor. 

His death was announced on Friday by a friend, who said Melvin had “never fully recovered” from a fall in December.

The actor was best known for the 1961 film A Taste Of Honey, in which he played a gay textile design student who befriends a pregnant teenage girl.

He also starred in the Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood, which aired from 2006 to 2011.

The show’s creator Russell T Davies said he was a “wonderful villain” in the series as he highlighted his long and varied career.

He wrote on Instagram: “He lived through a century that saw the understanding of his identity change so profoundly, and he did so with dignity, class and wit.

“His last email to me ended, ‘Take care, we still cannot afford to take chances.’ Oh he was wise. Night, Murray.”

John Barrowman, who played the show’s lead, wrote: “Murray Melvin, he always brought a cheeky warm smile to the Torchwood set and had the power to make us all laugh.”

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Melvin’s close friend, creative director Kerry Kyriacos Michael, confirmed the actor died at St Thomas’ Hospital in London on Friday.

Posting a photo on Twitter of Melvin drinking a cup of tea, he wrote that it was with “great sadness” he was announcing the death of the “actor, director and theatre archivist”.

He added: “He was one of my closest friends and will be missed by so many of us who had the privilege to know him.”

Born on 10 August 1932, Melvin had film roles in the 2004 musical film The Phantom Of The Opera and the comedies A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg in the 1970s and Smashing Time in 1960s.

He also starred in several 1970s Ken Russell films including musical comedy The Boy Friend and historical drama The Devils along with Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 period drama Barry Lyndon.