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Coronation Street: Actor Johnny Briggs who played Mike Baldwin dies after long illness

Written by on 28/02/2021

Coronation Street actor Johnny Briggs, who played Mike Baldwin in the long-running soap, has died after a long illness his family has said.

In a statement, his family said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father, Johnny Briggs.

“He passed away peacefully this morning after a long illness, with family by his side. He was 85. We politely ask for privacy at this time, so that we can quietly grieve as a family and remember the wonderful times we had with him. Thank you.”

Tributes quickly poured in from Coronation Street colleagues, looking back on their time working with the actor.

Calling Briggs “a complex character, on and off screen”, Antony Cotton who plays Sean Tully wrote on Twitter: “We all adored him. Feel lucky that I got the chance to work with him in the factory. I am, and will always be, a Baldwin’s Casual. Night night Mr Baldwin, I’ve left you a bottle of Scotch in the filing cabinet…”

While Helen Worth, who plays Gail Platt, said: “I am very sorry to hear the sad news. I have many happy memories of working together with Johnny. He was one of the street’s most memorable characters.”

John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the north spoke for “the whole Coronation Street family” in his message, paying tribute to Briggs’s talent as an actor.

He wrote: “For years Johnny was right at the centre of the show, playing the part of Mike Baldwin and bringing to the role huge energy, dynamism, professionalism and credibility.

“When Mike Baldwin was in a scene it was very hard to look at anyone else. And it was that charisma which made him irresistible to the women of Coronation Street, and to viewers. He truly was one of the most iconic characters the Street has ever known.”

Famous for his role as Mike Baldwin in the ITV drama, his on-screen feud with character Ken Barlow was an ongoing plot line during his 30-year stint on the cobbles.

His portrayal of the sometimes unscrupulous underwear factory boss won him both an MBE and a lifetime achievement award at the 2006 British Soap Awards.

Cockney chancer Baldwin had begun life as a market stall owner, but once Briggs established the role he quickly took ownership of the street’s factory (now called Underworld) and became one of the soap’s most famous characters.

Frequently at the heart of some of Corrie’s biggest storylines, a 1983 episode where a love-triangle between Briggs, Barlow and fellow long-time character Deirdre Barlow came to a head, was the show’s highest-rated episode at the time.

So big was the show’s influence, the words “Ken and Deirdre reunited. Ken 1 – Mike 0” was announced on the scoreboard during a Manchester United v Arsenal match at Old Trafford playing out at the time.

(c) Sky News 2021: Coronation Street: Actor Johnny Briggs who played Mike Baldwin dies after long illness