Cult TV

Roy Barraclough passes away at the age of 81

It is Cult Faction’s sad duty to report that legendary British comic actor Roy Barraclough has passed away after a short illness. Known for his role as  Alec Gilroy, the landlord of the Rovers Return in the long-running British TV soap Coronation Street, Barraclough had a rich history on the small screen including his comedy double-act Cissie and Ada with Les Dawson.

Barraclough began his career as a draughtsman, taking time off to work as an entertainer in a holiday camp on the Isle of Wight. This led to him combining his day job with local amateur theatre for several years. He was later offered a full-time acting contract by legendary repertory theatre producer Nita Valerie and started regularly appearing on stage and at times played piano in the pit, most notably for comedian Hylda Baker.

He later joined the repertory company at Stoke (alongside Ben Kingsley) and then Oldham in 1966, appearing alongside Barbara Knox, Anne Kirkbride and others. Whilst at Oldham he made his first TV appearances for Granada Television, including Coronation Street in 1964.

In 1969 he was cast as Harry Everitt in Castle Haven with Kathy Staff as his on-screen wife. It was whilst having lunch in the studio canteen that he was asked to stand in for a missing actor on the first series of The Les Dawson Show. It was the start of a working relationship which would last many years both at YTV and the BBC.

Appearances followed in The Lovers, Rising Damp, George and Mildred, and Coronation Street, of which he became a permanent cast member in 1986 until 1998. He also appeared in Mother’s Ruin, Last of the Summer Wine, Casualty, Peak Practice, Funland, Blankety Blank, All The Small Things, Last Tango in Halifax, Are You Being Served? and Billy Goat.

Barraclough also kept up his stage work appearing in everything from musicals (The Boy Friend and Gypsy) to high drama (Death of a Salesman and A Different Way Home) and Christmas shows and pantomimes. He created the role of Santa in the lavish stage musical Santa Claus, which he reprised for several Christmases. He was the recipient of three Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards including the Reader’s Award, a Liverpool Echo Theatre Award and a Royal Television Society Award.

In the 2006 New Year Honours, Barraclough was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to drama and to charity in the North West.

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