8 MARCH 2007

As one of Britain's best-loved soap actors, former Coronation Street star Johnny Briggs has won legions of fans - but by far his most famous one is Queen Elizabeth. The monarch, who used to avidly watch the programme with her mother, took the opportunity to quiz the 71-year-old small screen veteran as she presented him with an MBE at Buckingham Palace this week.

"It must have been quite fun," she said of his three decades in Corrie. "It was fantastic," replied Johnny who admitted he missed the crew "very, very much", describing it as working with "one happy family". Accompanied to the ceremony by his adult children Mark, Michael and Stephanie the London-born thespian said it was "a very proud day for me."

"When I was a little boy and I used to drive past the Palace, I never thought I would get through the gates let alone meet the Queen and have the honour of getting an MBE," he added. The award was in recognition of his services to drama, having worked thirty years as factory owner Mike Baldwin before retiring from the popular soap last year.

The Queen isn't the only royal fan of the Manchester-lensed series. Prince Charles featured in a cameo performance in December 2000 to mark the show's 40th anniversary while his wife Camilla is said to be a committed viewer.

Photo: ©
Proud Johnny gets a congratulatory kiss from his 24-year-old daughter Stephanie after being awarded the MBE for services to dramaPhoto: © EMPICSClick on photo to enlarge
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