Coronation Street is rocked on Friday 14 December by tragic news as the death of former regular character Archie Shuttleworth is confirmed, kicking off a storyline set to have big repercussions for Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) and Rita Tanner (Barbara Knox).
Beloved local undertaker Archie has died, as revealed tonight by Aud to pal Rita – and the audience. It’s been almost a decade since he last appeared, so who was Mr Shuttleworth, and why is this development so significant to the Weatherfield veterans? Time for a trip down memory lane…
Mischievous funeral director Archie, played memorably by veteran entertainer Roy Hudd, made his Corrie debut in 2002 as the gentleman friend of legendary battle-axe Blanche Hunt (the late Maggie Jones). He struck up a professional arrangement with salon queen Audrey as he employed her to style hair on corpses to make his ‘clients’ look their best for their final journey. Having been a loyal support to Audrey through her ordeal with sinister son-in-law Richard Hillman, Archie proposed to Mrs Roberts but left the street heartbroken when she rejected him in 2003.
Three years later in 2006, Archie was back to organise the funeral of feared factory boss Mike Baldwin. Remaining on the show for another extended stint, the character pursued Kabin siren Rita and their brief not-quite romance put Audrey’s nose out of joint and fed into the Weatherfield womens’ on/off feud that stretches right back into their rivalry over Aud’s late hubby Alf Roberts.
Archie left again and made what was to be his final on-screen appearance in 2010 at the funeral of yet another Corrie favourite, Blanche herself.
Audrey receives an unexpected windfall from her old friend when she learns on Monday 17 December Archie has left her an £80,000 inheritance in his will. Unfortunately, Aud’s current beau Lewis Archer (Nigel Havers) will be plotting something in secret this Yuletide and Gail Platt (Helen Worth) is convinced her mum’s man is up to no good and wants his hands on the loot.
Does Archie’s demise kick start the beginning of the end for Audrey and Lewis if he does end up conning her yet again?