Actor Johnny Briggs, who played Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street, has died aged 85.
Weatherfield empire – Baldwin’s Casuals on Coronation St.
A statement from Briggs’ family reads: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father, Johnny Briggs. 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. Thank you.”
One of the serial’s longest-running characters, factory boss Mike appeared in more than 2000 episodes of Coronation Street between 1976 and 2006. The character was involved in some of the show’s most memorable storylines such as the Mike, Ken (William Roache) and Deirdre (Anne Kirkbride) love triangle of the early 1980s – the beginnings of a long-running feud between Ken and Mike.
The love triangle that drew in millions, Mike, Dierdre and Ken.
Keeping it in the family, Mike discovers son Mark has been having an affair with his wife Linda.
The Barlow/Baldwin feud was reinvigorated in 1986 when Mike married Ken’s daughter Susan (Wendy Jane Walker) though the union would prove to be ill-fated. Mike and Ken later found themselves part of another love triangle with Alma (Amanda Barrie) who ultimately chose to marry businessman Mike.
Briggs bowed out of the soap in 2006 when the scriptwriters devised a long-running storyline that saw his character develop Alzheimer’s. In later years the actor was critical of the soap claiming it had lost its way and its humour.
“The whole Coronation Street family is deeply saddened by the death of Johnny Briggs. 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 that 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.” – John Whiston, MD of Continuing Drama, ITV
Ken Barlow had never been a fan of Mike Baldwin, the socialist versus the capitalist, but it went to a new level when Mike bedded Ken’s wife Dierdre in 1983. In 2006 Mike died in Ken’s arms.
Mike eventually settled down with Alma (Amanda Barrie) of Jim’s Café until her death.
Earlier soap fame saw him play the role of Clifford Leyton in Crossroads a wheeler-dealer who ran a taxi company. During his time with the ATV production, the character became involved with a shady casino and the Crossroads Motel Garage. Johnny first appeared in episode 1797, leaving in 2232, featuring in nearly 400 editions.
“It was when I was in Crossroads playing taxi firm boss Clifford Leyton that the Coronation Street producer, Bill Podmore, wanted a Londoner. He said to the Crossroads producer, Jack Barton, ‘That Johnny Briggs, is he alright?’ Jack said ‘Yeah, he knows his lines, he turns up to the set on time,’ so I was asked to do it and I said ‘Ok, I’ll do three months.’ Then the years have just crept up..” – Johnny Briggs, speaking to the TV Times in 2006
Susan Hanson, Johnny Briggs, Mona Ewins and Morris Parsons from Crossroads at an ATV party in 1973.
Johnny as Clifford Layton (second left) in Crossroads with Susan Hanson as Diane (left) and Zeph Gladstone as Vera (far right) this his final appearance in December ’74.
Briggs also had a long and varied television and film career stretching from comedy Man About The House to drama The Saint, three Carry On movies, and a stint in Associated Rediffusion’s police drama No Hiding Place.
After Corrie he made guest appearances in series such as Holby City, Doctors and Marple as well as a stint in the short-lived serial Echo Beach and its companion comedy show Moving Wallpaper.
He was made a MBE in the New Year’s Honours in 2006.