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Coronation Street actor Roy Barraclough dies aged 81

The Lancashire-born star played Alec Gilroy on the ITV soap for 22 years

Gemma Strong

Former Coronation Street actor Roy Barraclough has passed away at the age of 81 after a short illness, his representative has confirmed. The Lancashire-born star played Alec Gilroy, the landlord of the Rovers Return, for 22 years on the ITV soap. He left the show in 1998, and was later awarded an MBE for services to drama and charity in the New Years Honours list in 2006. Roy was most recently on TV screens last year, when he appeared in a revival of the sitcom Are You being Served?. He had also starred in Last Tango in Halifax.

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Roy Barraclough played Rovers Return landlord Alec Gilroy in Coronation Street

Roy first appeared in Coronation Street in the 1970s as a talent agent for Rita Littlewood, now known as Rita Tanner. He joined the show permanently in 1986, with his character marrying Bet Lynch (played by Julie Goodyear) and the pair running the Rover Return together. The pair quickly established themselves as one of Corrie's most iconic duos, with their bickering providing constant entertainment for viewers. Roy left the show in 1992, and later returned in 1996 for two years, before making his final appearance in 1998.

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Alec Gilroy (Roy Barraclough) and Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear) on their wedding day in 1987

His other TV work included roles in Casualty and Last of the Summer Wine, and he was also known to TV viewers as one half of the comedic double act 'Cissie and Ada' with comedian les Dawson in the 70s and 80s. Following the news of his death, Les' daughter Charlotte took to Twitter to post a tribute. "Omg, I'm devastated," she wrote. "... At least you get to be reunited with my daddy."

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Off screen, Roy was known for his services to charities and he had been patron of Willow Wood Hospice in Greater Manchester for more than 20 years. He passed away at the hospice following his illness.