Actor Jimmy Yuill, sacked in his sick-bed from the Sunday night hit ITV detective thriller Wycliffe, has been overwhelmed with messages of support from his many theatrical colleagues and friends and, most notably, from his home town in Golspie, Sutherland.

News of the termination of contract after five seasons, by Lord Hollick's United News and Media, which took over from original producers Harlech Television, leaked out ahead of the start of the new six-episode series this week.

Yuill plays the part of Detective Sergeant Doug Kersey, to Jack Shepherd's Chief Supt Charlie Wycliffe. Shepherd, upset at this off-screen development, has now threatened to end his connection with the series, watched by up to 11 million viewers nationwide.

''Jimmy was heart-broken and so was I. In many ways, he was the creative heart of the show and they ripped it out, half-way through the run.''

Yuill, the father of two children, aged 12 and nine, and now resident in Bristol, was fired as he lay in hospital in Truro, Cornwall, in February, while recovering from meningitis.