Coronation Street star Roy Barraclough dies at 81

File photo dated 17/08/87 of Coronation Street barmaid Bet Lynch (actress Julie Goodyear) getting a kiss from television groom Alec Gilroy (actor Roy Barraclough)
File photo dated 17/08/87 of Coronation Street barmaid Bet Lynch (actress Julie Goodyear) getting a kiss from television groom Alec Gilroy (actor Roy Barraclough)

Former Coronation Street star Roy Barraclough has died at the age of 81.

A spokesman for the Lancashire-born actor said he died on Thursday following a short illness.

File photo dated 23/03/07 of former Coronation Street actor Roy Barraclough, who has died today aged 81 after a short illness, his agent said

File photo dated 23/03/07 of former Coronation Street actor Roy Barraclough, who has died today aged 81 after a short illness, his agent said

A star on the stage and screen, Barraclough was best known for his role as Alec Gilroy in the ITV soap.

Gavin Barker Associates said in a statement: "Our client Roy Barraclough has passed away today aged 81 after a short illness."

Barraclough appeared as a talent agent in Corrie in the early 1970s before becoming a regular face on the cobbles from 1986 until 1992 and returning again in 1996 for two years.

As Gilroy, he was best known for his stormy marriage to Bet Lynch, played by Julie Goodyear.

File photo dated 15/03/06 of former Coronation Street actor Roy Barraclough with his MBE

File photo dated 15/03/06 of former Coronation Street actor Roy Barraclough with his MBE

His other TV work includes roles in Casualty, Last Of The Summer Wine and Last Tango In Halifax.

Last year, Barraclough appeared in the BBC's one-off tribute to Are You Being Served? as Mr Grainger.

In 2006, Barraclough was awarded the MBE for services to drama and his charity work.

His philanthropic efforts included more than 20 years as a patron of Willow Wood Hospice in Greater Manchester.

He died at the hospice following his illness.

Barraclough kicked off his career as a comedian and pianist at a holiday camp on the Isle of Wight, before joining the Huddersfield Repertory Company.

In 1964, during his years with Oldham's Coliseum Theatre company, he made his first Corrie appearance as a tour guide, returning later to sell Stan Ogden his window cleaning round and then again as a bed salesman.

The late 1960s saw him take on a range of new TV roles and marked the beginning of his work with comedian Les Dawson, who died in 1993.

Barraclough stepped in to fill the shoes of Dawson'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.

Following Barraclough's death, Dawson's daughter Charlotte posted a tribute on Twitter: "Omg I'm devastated...at least you get to be reunited with my daddy."