1. ITV Report

Stars, family and friends say goodbye to Bill Tarmey

Stars of Coronation Street have gathered to pay their respects to Manchester-born actor Bill Tarmey, who played the soap's Jack Duckworth for three decades.

The actor became one of TV's most recognisable faces as the long-suffering husband to nagging battleaxe Vera, played by Liz Dawn. Their endearing on-screen partnership was one of the most popular in soap history and gave the ITV1 show some of its most funny and memorable moments.

Tarmey died at his holiday home in Tenerife on November 9, aged 71.

The former builder dreamed of becoming a singing star and was eking out a living as a crooner in working men's clubs before joining Coronation Street in 1977 as an extra to supplement his earnings.

Tarmey landed the role of Jack Duckworth two years later and, despite his modesty about his acting ability, a Street legend was born, to the extent that he did not leave the show until 31 years later.

Around 700 people packed into the Albion United Reformed Church in Ashton-under-Lyne for his funeral service, joining his wife of 50 years, Ali, and the couple's two children, Carl and Sara, to say a final goodbye.

Among the mourners were Dawn, who left the soap in 2008 through ill health, Nigel Pivaro, who played Tarmey's on-screen son Terry Duckworth, and Alan Halsall, whose character, Tyrone Dobbs, looked up to Jack Duckworth as a father figure.

The service was relayed on loudspeakers for several hundred fans of the show who gathered outside. Eulogies were given by Samia Ghadie, who plays Maria Connor, and Pivaro.

Ghadie said: "Jack and Vera were a truly unforgettable and formidable partnership, and I doubt we'll ever see that again. They were simply iconic and Jack Duckworth will forever be a true Coronation Street legend.

"On behalf of everyone who works at Coronation Street and has worked on the programme during its 52 years, and the loyal viewers who have followed the programme throughout these years - Bill, we salute you."