‘Coronation Street’ actor Johnny Briggs dies at 85

Actor best known for his long-running role in soap opera died after long illness

FILE - In this March 7, 2007 file photo, actor Johnny Briggs poses for the media after collecting an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in London. British actor Johnny Briggs, best known for his role as businessman Mike Baldwin in the long-running TV soap opera “Coronation Street,” has died. He was 85. A statement from his family released Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021 said Briggs died peacefully after a long illness. (Fiona Hanson/PA via AP, file)
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Johnny Briggs, a British actor best known for his role as businessman Mike Baldwin in the UK's long-running TV soap opera Coronation Street, has died. He was 85.

His family said Briggs died peacefully on Sunday morning after a long illness.

He was a fixture on Coronation Street, playing his role for 30 years.

Baldwin, a Cockney clothing factory boss, became one of the most memorable characters in the show’s fictional town of Weatherfield.

John Whiston, managing director of the drama, said Briggs brought a charisma to his role, which made it “very hard to look at anyone else” when he was on screen.

“He truly was one of the most iconic characters the Street has ever known," Whiston said. "We wish Johnny’s family all our condolences.”

Briggs made his debut on the show in 1976 and remained until 2006.

In the early 1980s, his character's affair with the married Deirdre Barlow, played by Anne Kirkbride, gripped the nation and was one of the show's most popular storylines.

About 12 million viewers tuned in when his character died of a heart attack.

Briggs was appointed an MBE in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year's Honours list of 2006.