Veteran character actor who appeared in The Italian Job
, Prime Suspect
and Footballers WivesJohn Forgeham
, who has died aged 75, was a hard-living actor who brought some of his off-screen qualities to his best known television roles, which were often unsympathetic. As the loud-mouthed car mechanic Jim Baines in Crossroads
, he was in the long-running soap at the height of its popularity, when the series was watched by some 18 million viewers (though loathed by the critics). For four years (1974-78), at one time with a curly perm redolent of the era, Jim belittled his wife, Muriel, whom he called “Mu” (played by Anne Rutter
), and cheated on her with the motel garage’s secretary-turned-manager Sharon Metcalfe (Carolyn Jones
). Despite the storylines, Forgeham was hugely popular, particularly with female viewers.
He continued to appear on television over the next two decades. However, by 1999, roles were drying up and he was working