ENTERTAINER, actor and producer Gerald Bryce died of cancer in Poole Hospital on July 19, aged 85.

He lived in Branksome Park for more than three decades, and was perhaps most well known for his role in a television advert poking gentle fun at ice skating legends Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

Born in Withington, Manchester, in July 1930, Mr Bryce joked that his showbiz big break came when he was just 13 months old, when a professional photographer put his image in his shop window to drum up business.

He was a talented dancer from childhood, and at the age of five he would don a sailor suit to entertain audiences during family holidays to Llandudno.

In his younger years, living in Blackpool, he took roles in musical theatre, and through this he came to the attention of ITV and Granada.

He performed in a multitude of television plays, such as Shadow Squad and Armchair Theatre, many of which were performed live, and later went on to work alongside Des O'Connor at Butlins in Pwllheli, North Wales, where he tutored holiday makers in tennis and ballroom dancing.

In the 1960s Mr Bryce was an entertainer on cruise ships, and he took full advantage of the opportunity to travel around the Mediterranean and meet the stars of the day, including Gracie Fields at her home in Capri.

When he came to Bournemouth he was a producer for Zaar International Films, a Lancashire firm which made short flicks for businesses, industry and tourist towns.

With his dancing skills and imposing height of six foot four inches, Mr Bryce was called upon for numerous adverts in the 1980s for firms including Heineken and ice cream brand Festini.

But the most famous of his ads by far was a parody of 1984 Winter Olympic ice dancing duo Torvill and Dean's medal-winning display in Sarajevo, which caused quite a stir.

The ad featured a smart middle-aged man returning from work and whisking his wife (played by Joan Hall) around the parquet flooring in an extravagant version of the Torvill and Dean routine, accompanied, of course, by Ravel's Bolero.

It was an unusual but eye catching way to promote the world's first compact disc, unveiled that year by tech firm Philips.

Mr Bryce worked alongside Little and Large, Harry Worth and Ronnie Barker over the course of his later acting career, appearing in The Two Ronnies, Bread, Mansfield Park, Tales of the Unexpected and more.

His friends included talents as diverse as Jayne Mansfield and Joan Hickson.

He gained a reputation among friends as a joker and prankster, and according to good friend and fellow entertainer David Medina he was a real 'ladies' man'. However he never married.

He loved animals and was passionate about music, particularly the songs of Doris Day.