Coronation Street star Roy Barraclough dies at the age of 81

Coronation Street actor Roy Barraclough has passed away at the age of 81 after a short illness, his agent has confirmed.

The TV star was best known for his role in the ITV soap, where he played Rovers Return landlord Alec Gilroy sporadically between 1972 to 1998, although he also appeared in shows such as Casualty, Last of the Summer Wine and Peak Practice, and formed a popular partnership with comedian Les Dawson.

In 2006, Roy was awarded an MBE for his services to drama and to charity in the North West. His most recent on-screen part was in a revival of classic sitcom Are You Being Served?, which aired in 2016.

Despite his success in the field, in a rare interview with the Daily Mirror in 2014, Roy admitted that he no longer watched the soaps that had been a formative part of his career.

‘I don’t watch the show, it has changed so much now from what it was,’ he told the paper.

‘It doesn’t have a hold on me like it used to. The characters have changed and it has drifted away from what it used to be – there was a lot of comedy then. In fact I don’t watch any of the soaps.

‘They all follow each other, one outdoing the other. If one has a rape, the other has a rape. It’s a shame.’

When asked if he would ever consider returning to the show, he replied: ‘I don’t think it would work now. If you were to go back now, you would be so out of place.’

However, he added that he did still keep in touch with some of his co-stars from years gone by.

‘I still speak to Julie Goodyear occasionally. I actually spoke to her yesterday. I speak to her and Barbara Knox.

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‘Other than that I used to be quite close to Bill Tarmey but sadly he passed on. He was very special. We had a lot of fun together. We were very naughty, always making each other laugh and ruining takes.

‘They were undoubtedly some of my best years. I look back on them with great affection. There isn’t anything I want to do that I haven’t done.’