A FORMER TV presenter romped to victory in a Worcestershire County Council by-election last night.

Conservative Peter Tomlinson has won the Ombersley seat at County Hall, keeping the seat blue after the death of Maurice Broomfield.

The 73-year-old, a former High Sherriff who created the British children's television series Tiswas, secured 956 votes after a surge in support.

The Lib Dems came second on 224, where former Mid-Worcestershire parliamentary candidate Margaret Rowley was trying to help activist Peter Evans win the seat, while UKIP's Richard Keel was third with 212.

The chairman of Ombersley Parish Council Doug Ingram, who stood as an independent, came fourth on 120, with no Labour or Green candidates.

The result is a boost for the Conservatives, with its share of the vote up 15 per cent giving it a 732 majority.

UKIP's portion of the support fell 19 per cent, leaving it in third place despite winning four seats at County Hall three years ago, two of which the party still controls.

Councillor Paul Middlebrough, deputy chairman of Mid-Worcestershire Conservative Association, said: "We're absolutely delighted, the key thing for the Conservatives is that our share of the vote is back to where it was in 2009.

"That's because the UKIP vote has collapsed significantly - it shows we've got a different set of politics here post-Brexit."

Mrs Rowley said: "We'd obviously prefer a larger volume of votes but the Lib Dems came fourth last time and now we are second.

"So I think that shows we are coming back into contention."

Mr Ingram, a former UKIP activist who quit the party due to a dispute over the MEP selection process, told the Worcester News he was happy to get 120 votes.

"I don't get the party machines behind me unlike the rest of them, but I'm not concerned," he said.

"The seat will be up again next May (at the county council 2017 elections) and I will stand again."

UKIP figures have downplayed the result, pointing to the low 18 per cent turnout and the time of year.

Peter Long, from the Mid-Worcestershire UKIP branch, said: "I'm not surprised by the result, but coming a very close third is pretty good.

"I do think having Doug Ingram, one of our former members stand took some votes off us, which is always a problem."

The result means the Conservative Party holds 32 of County Hall's 57 seats.

During the 1980s Mr Tomlinson's voice was heard providing the voice-over on popular TV quiz show Blockbusters.

He was also one of the earliest presenters on Harlech Television during a long career in broadcasting, and is a Wychavon district councillor.