John Savident, who starred as butcher Fred Elliott in Coronation Street, dies aged 86

Correspondent Geraint Vincent looks back at the life and career of John Savident

Actor John Savident, famed for his role as butcher Fred Elliott in Coronation Street, has died aged 86.

His agent said in a statement: "We are sad to announce the death of the actor John Savident who died on Wednesday 21st February.

"He was a much loved husband and father of two and will be sorely missed by all who knew him."

The Guernsey-born actor quickly became a fan favourite on the soap, known for his bald head and booming voice.

Coronation Street's Fred Elliott with his new bride Eve Sykes after they are married in the hit soap based in Manchester. Credit: PA

Fred Elliott's disastrous love life rivalled any other on the street and his three marriages only told part of the story. Fred got down on one knee several times, only to be told "no".

Fred had a secret son, Ashley Peacock, and the two later developed a close bond.

Elliott’s death also saw Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) confess that she still loved him following her turning down his proposal of marriage years previously.

The butcher’s previous wives also include Maureen Holdsworth (Sherrie Hewson) and barmaid Eve Sykes (Melanie Kilburn).

Nicholls said: “I am very sad to hear of John’s passing. My memories of working with you dear John on the street are a joy, and always will be.

John Savident after picking up the top award on behalf of the programme being chosen Best Soap at the British Soap Awards in 1999. Credit: PA

“God bless you and thank you for being in my life. Much love to you and your friends and family.”

Outside Coronation Street, Savident was in political comedy Yes, Minister, Stanley Kubrick’s dystopian thriller A Clockwork Orange, biopic Gandhi, war film Battle Of Britain, science fiction series Doctor Who and period dramas The Remains Of The Day and Middlemarch.

He was in the first staging of the musical Phantom Of The Opera, in October 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Haymarket, London, as the opera house owner Monsieur Firmin.

He returned to play the character in 2011 at the Royal Albert Hall concert film.

Savident leaves Manchester Royal Infirmary after being stabbed in the neck in 2000. Credit: PA

After leaving his soap work, Savident appeared on stage in productions of panto Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs and Harold Brighouse’s Hobson’s Choice.

Savident was married to theatre director Rona Hopkinson and they had two children.

In 2000, he was attacked by a man named Michael Smith, who was sent to jail for stabbing Savident twice in the neck in Manchester.

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