Colin Welland, who famously proclaimed, “The British are coming!” in his Academy Award acceptance speech for Chariots Of Fire, has died at the age of 81 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s. The actor and writer, who appeared in the TV show Z Cars and also acted in Ken Loach’s Kes and Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, also wrote the Gene Hackman-starrer Twice In A Lifetime and the Marlon Brando Apartheid drama A Dry White Season.

A statement released by his family via Welland’s agent Anthony Jones said: “Colin will be desperately missed by his family and friends. Alzheimer’s is a cruel illness and there have been difficult times but in the end Colin died peacefully in his sleep. We are proud of Colin’s many achievements during his life but most of all he will be missed as a loving and generous friend, husband, father and granddad.”