Coronation Street actor Roy Barraclough dies aged 81

Roy Barraclough

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Barraclough was also known for his work with Les Dawson

Comic actor Roy Barraclough, best known for playing Rovers Return landlord Alec Gilroy in Coronation Street, has died at the age of 81.

His agent said he died on Thursday after a short illness.

Barraclough was seen on screens most recently last year, in a revival of classic sitcom Are You Being Served?.

The Lancashire-born star was also known for his partnership with Les Dawson, especially their portrayal of duo Cissie and Ada.

The gossip-loving northern housewives – full names Cissie Braithwaite, played by Barraclough, and Ada Shufflebotham, played by Dawson – were seen on TV in the 1970s and ’80s.

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Cissie and Ada on the Les Dawson Show

Barraclough’s TV appearances also included Last Tango in Halifax, Last of the Summer Wine and Casualty, with stage work including Death of a Salesman.

Barraclough first appeared as Alec Gilroy on Coronation Street in the early 1970s as the agent for then-nightclub singer Rita Littlewood, now known as Rita Tanner.

He joined the soap permanently in 1986, his character marrying Bet Lynch – played by Julie Goodyear – and the pair running the Rovers Return.

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Barraclough as Alec Gilroy with Julie Goodyear as Bet Lynch

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The actor, pictured here with Simon Gregson, was on Coronation Street until 1998

Barraclough started his career as a comedian and pianist at an Isle of Wight holiday camp before joining the Huddersfield Repertory Company and then Oldham’s Coliseum Theatre company.

His partnership with Les Dawson began in the late 1960s.

Dawson’s daughter Charlotte tweeted that she was “devastated” at the news of his death, adding: “At least you get to be reunited with my daddy.”

Barraclough made his debut on the Corrie cobbles in 1964 as a tour guide, with other minor appearances including a stint as a bed salesman, before he landed the role of Alec Gilroy.

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Barraclough, far right, starred as Mr Grainger in the revival of Are You Being Served?

Barraclough was awarded the MBE for services to drama and charity, and had been the patron of Willow Wood Hospice in Greater Manchester for more than 20 years.

He died at the hospice following his illness.

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