Roy Barraclough – who played shifty Rovers Return landlord Alec Gilroy on Coronation Street – has died at the age of 81.
His passing was announced by his agent, who said that Barraclough had died today following a short illness.
As well as his stint behind the bar as the husband of Bet Lynch, Barraclough was also well known as one half of the Cissie and Ada double act with Les Dawson.
Prior to making his debut as Alec in June 1972, Preston-born Barraclough had previously played four different roles on the ITV soap, but it was his popular partnership with Julie Goodyear that made him a hit with Corrie fans.
Speaking today, Goodyear said: “My dearest friend Roy Barraclough has passed away at 6am this morning. I have no words to describe how devastated I feel.
“We kept in close touch and spoke to each other at least 2 or 3 times every week. I will treasure all the happy times we had working and laughing together. We were just like a married couple, crazy, I know, but true. Rest in peace Roy. I will always love you.”
After several departures and comebacks, Barraclough finally left Coronation Street at the end of 1998 went on to appear in Last of the Summer Wine, Last Tango in Halifax and All the Small Things. In 2006, Barraclough was also awarded the MBE for his charity work.
His last screen credit saw him playing Mr Grainger in the BBC’s remake of Are You Being Served? in 2016.
Speaking last year, the actor criticised Coronation Street’s plans to move to six episodes a week, saying: “I don’t wish them ill but I fear it will all end in tears – the quality is bound to suffer.
“The actors will not be able to cope, so they will inevitably have to get in more actors to play more characters. With such a huge cast it is very difficult to pull that off. Of course it can be done, but just how well is another matter. It is a mistake, it’s pure overkill.”
But he did remember his years in Weatherfield with fondness, commenting to the Daily Mirror: “They were undoubtedly some of my best years. I look back on them with great affection.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.