Tributes for 'iconic' Coronation Street Johnny Briggs, who has died aged 85

  • Video report by ITV News Reporter Ellie Pitt

Johnny Briggs, who played Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street, died on Sunday aged 85 after a long illness, his family has said.

Tributes are coming in for the "iconic" actor, who played the role on the Cobbles for decades.

A statement from his family said he died after a long illness.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father, Johnny Briggs,” the statement said.

“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.”

Johnny Brigss with Coronation Strete co-stars William Roache and Anne Kirkbride at the PYE Television Awards in 1983. Credit: PA

William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow and formed part of a memorable on-screen feud with Baldwin, said in a statement: “So sorry to hear about Johnny. “Mike Baldwin and Ken Barlow were arch enemies for many years, but as an actor, Johnny was impeccable, always good, and I was so fortunate to have worked with him for so many years. “He was a strong character who will be greatly missed. “I send my love to Johnny on his journey and to all those who are bound to miss him, he was an iconic Coronation Street character. Love you Johnny! X”

Johnny Briggs made his Corrie debut as Mike Baldwin in 1976

Sue Nicholls, the Street's Audrey Roberts, described him as a "great friend."

"I am very sad to hear the news. Johnny was a great friend, I knew him before I started in Coronation Street and he was always great fun to be around," she said.

"He played the part of Mike Baldwin so well that, despite all Mike's ducking and diving, you were always on his side."

His role as underwear factory boss Mike Baldwin was one of the soap’s most famous. Briggs made his Corrie debut as Mike in 1976 and remained on the cobbles until 2006. He left the soap with his cockney character apparently suffering from a form of Alzheimer’s. The London-born actor also appeared on stage and in films, alongside the likes of Norman Wisdom, Dirk Bogarde and Tommy Steele. Briggs was appointed an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours in December 2006.

Coronation Street star 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.”

Former Corrie writer Phil Ford tweeted: “Very very sad to hear that actor Johnny Briggs has died.

“Knew him during my time on Corrie. Many a lunchtime chat. Lots of smiles.”

John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the north, paid tribute. “The whole Coronation Street family is deeply saddened by the death of Johnny Briggs,” he said in a statement. “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. We wish Johnny’s family all our condolences.”