Actor Peter Baldwin, who played lovable fusspot Derek Wilton in Coronation Street, has died at the age of 82.
Baldwin – who first featured as Derek in 1976 – eventually became the screen husband of Mavis Riley (Thelma Barlow) in 1988, until his character was killed off in 1997.
A spokesperson for Coronation Street said tonight: “It is with great sadness we’ve learned respected former Coronation Street actor Peter Baldwin has died.
“Peter passed away at his home in north London last night (21 October) after a short illness. We send our sincere condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.”
During his years in Weatherfield, browbeaten Derek was involved in a number of largely comedic storylines, most memorably the Christmas 1989 episode that saw him trapped on a warehouse roof while dressed as Santa Claus and the notorious 1995 kidnapping of his precious garden gnome by business rival Norris Cole.
Derek was written out in 1997 when he had heart attack after arguing with a passing motorist. The producer at the time was Brian Park, who sanctioned the removal of five Corrie characters. Back in 2004, Park explained the process behind the decision to get rid of Derek:
“Derek was probably past his sell-by date. I had to see the poor actor, Peter Baldwin, at 9am on the day I started and he thought I was seeing the cast in alphabetical order. But it wasn’t B for Baldwin. It was B for b*****ed.”
Speaking to the Express back in 2013 about his axing from Corrie, Peter Baldwin recalled: “The producers dropped the bombshell that they wanted to kill him off. At the time, I couldn’t believe it. In fact, I can’t even remember my response as it was so shocking – and sad, because it removed any possibility of returning later on.”
However, he did return in 2012 as a spectral Derek for a Text Santa special in which Norris was haunted by ghosts of Weatherfield past.
Following his years on Coronation Street, Baldwin took over the running of a Covent Garden Victorian theatre toyshop and continued to appear on television in Last of the Summer Wine and on Doctors.
You can watch Peter Baldwin and co-star Thelma Barlow in action on Coronation Street below.
And beneath that, there’s a 60-second rundown of all the upcoming drama on the ITV soap.