The cliffs at Gogarth Bay are popular with climbers.

Inquests have been opened and adjourned on Vaughan Richard Holme, 48, of Horsham, Sussex, and Jack Hutton-Potts, 23, of Petersfield, Hampshire.

They were reported missing on Saturday night. People close to the scene said the bodies were roped together.

A search ended when the bodies were found in water near North Stack.

The alarm was raised just after 22:00 BST on Saturday when the climbers failed to meet friends. Search crews worked through until 01:00 BST on Sunday, but only found two rucksacks.

Location map

The search resumed at 04:30 BST on Sunday and, as the tide was going out, the bodies of two men were spotted by a search and rescue helicopter from RAF Valley on Anglesey.

They were in the sea close to where the men had been climbing and they were roped together as they would have been if they had been climbing together.

The cliffs at Gogarth Bay are popular with climbers.

One climbing website says the climbs are adventurous and serious, and suited to competent and serious climbers.

It says many of the routes are affected by the tide and there are often loose rocks.

The weather conditions were described as “challenging” by one rescuer who said there was a strong wind blowing towards the shore, and the sea was quite rough throughout Saturday and into Sunday morning.

Three lifeboat crews took part in the search around both North and South Stack before two bodies were recovered by the RNLI crew from Trearddur Bay lifeboat.

North west Wales coroner Dewi Pritchard-Jones adjourned an inquest at Caernarfon until a date to be fixed.

Obituary: Edward Woodward

He acquired an early love of theatre from the exuberant performances of the traders at the street market in his home town of Croydon, south of London, and his visits to the Croydon Empire.

He was only five when his recital for a talent contest at Wallington in Surrey won him the first prize, what he believed to be a silver penknife, until it began peeling to reveal a dull, base metal.

It taught him scepticism. “You start doing deals with Americans, particularly the big Hollywood ones, and you’ll appreciate the story about the silver penknife.”

Edward Woodward’s next prize was more valuable, a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, which enabled him to give up his job as a sanitation engineer.

Theatrical success

At 16, he became Rada’s youngest student and made his professional debut in repertory in 1946. Nine years later, he graduated to the London stage in Where There’s a Will.

Woodward improved his credentials with a season at Stratford-upon-Avon and made his first breakthrough in Rattle of a Simple Man in London.

Edward Woodward in A Dream Divided
A 1969 television role saw Woodward play writer F Scott Fitzgerald

Its success took it to Broadway, and led to Woodward’s appearance in a New York production of a musical, High Spirits, based on Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit.

With his pleasing, light-tenor voice, Woodward then played the leading role of Sydney Carton in a musical version of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, and was on tour with the show when he received a call from Laurence Olivier.

Invited to choose his own role at the National Theatre, Woodward shook Olivier by declaring: “I want to play Cyrano de Bergerac”, a work requiring several dozen actors.

He triumphed in the role, although he was obliged to supplement his income by singing in cabarets and clubs to support his wife and family.

Edward Woodward made more than a dozen records and featured in many dramas on BBC radio.

But it was in the title role of Callan, a brooding, resentful and rebellious British secret agent, that will be one of his best remembered roles.

Last screen appearance

The Thames Television series ran from 1969 to 1973, spawning a film of the same name. Woodward also starred in The Wicker Man, a film which attracted a huge cult following on both sides of the Atlantic, and in Breaker Morant, set during the Boer War.

He was made an OBE in 1978.

The success of Callan earned him an award for TV Actor of the Year and led to Woodward starring in a long-running American television series, The Equalizer.

His five years in New York made him wealthy, but Woodward regretted making the series, which took a heavy toll on his health.

Working 20 hours at a time, he coped by smoking 100 cigarettes a day - and had a major heart attack.

Edward Woodward in EastEnders
The actor’s final on-screen appearance came earlier this year in EastEnders

But the role did win him a coveted Golden Globe for best actor in 1987.

Woodward’s two sons and a daughter by his first marriage to Venetia Barratt are all actors, while he and his second wife, the actress Michele Dotrice, also have a daughter.

Edward Woodward gave up smoking and continued working, appearing in the BBC series Common as Muck.

He also had a role in Simon Pegg’s big-screen police comedy Hot Fuzz.

His last on-screen appearance was as Tommy Clifford in EastEnders earlier this year, a character who sought forgiveness for the murder of Patrick Trueman’s girlfriend decades earlier.

His most recent film, A Congregation of Ghosts, is currently in post-production.

Despite his success in several fields, and the authority he brought to each of them, he was grateful for simply enjoying employment in a tough profession.