Former Coronation Street actress Julie Goodyear has led tributes to her co-star and on-screen husband, Roy Barraclough, who has died aged 81.
In an emotional statement shared on Thursday, she said she was “devastated” to hear of the death of her “dearest friend”.
During a 55-year career in theatre and on TV, Barraclough was best known for his Corrie character Alec Gilroy’s stormy marriage to Bet Lynch (Goodyear).
Julie, 75, said: “My dearest friend, Roy Barraclough, has passed away at 6am this morning.
“I have no words to describe how devastated I feel.
“We kept in close touch and spoke to each other at least two or three times every week.
“I will treasure all the happy times we had working and laughing together. We were just like a married couple – crazy, I know, but true.
“Rest in peace, Roy. I will always love you.”
A statement from Gavin Barker Associates said Roy had died following a “short illness”.
We are saddened to hear that Roy Barraclough has passed away.— Coronation Street (@itvcorrie) June 1, 2017
Here's an example of the warmth and love he brought to his role as Alec Gilroy pic.twitter.com/yfEhxpJ4Aj
The actor made a number of brief appearances in Coronation Street throughout the 1960s and ’70s, before becoming a regular face on the cobbles from 1986 until 1992, and returning again in 1996 for two years.
The Corrie team shared a nostalgic clip from his days on the ITV soap on Twitter, describing him as a man who brought “warmth and love” to the show.
But fans will also know Roy as one half of Les Dawson’s TV comedy double act that stormed to success in the 1970s.
He had originally stepped in to fill the shoes of Les’s previous partner – who had been put off by his attitude to rehearsing – and the pair went on to create some of the nation’s favourite sketches, including gossipy housewives Cissie and Ada.
Les’s daughter Charlotte and comedian Matt Lucas both shared some warm words on Twitter.
Omg I'm devastated 😥😥😥😥😥😥💔💔💔💔💔 atleast you get to be reunited with my daddy 😥😥😥😥💔💔😥😥😥💔💔💔💔 https://t.co/58GiJjXWCS— Charlotte Dawson (@CharlotteDawsx) June 1, 2017
Happy days with Roy Barraclough on 'Pompidou'. Lovely man, brilliant actor. pic.twitter.com/Fe78ctMc4Q— MATT LUCAS (@RealMattLucas) June 1, 2017
Roy’s more recent television roles have included Casualty, Last Of The Summer Wine and Last Tango In Halifax, as well as an appearance as Mr Grainger on the BBC’s one-off tribute to Are You Being Served? last year.
Coronation Street bosses have promised to dedicate Thursday night’s episode to Roy’s memory.
Executive producer Kieran Roberts said: “Roy was a delightful person as well as a wonderful actor and will be greatly missed by all of us connected with the programme.
Tonight's episode of Coronation Street will be dedicated to Roy Barraclough. pic.twitter.com/pqFeFmTfF2— Coronation Street (@itvcorrie) June 1, 2017
“The fact that the character of Alec Gilroy was at the heart of the show for so many years and was held in such affection by so many fans is a tribute to Roy’s genius, for drama as well as comedy.”