Former Heartbeat and Coronation Street actor Geoffrey Hughes has died aged 68, after a two year battle with Cancer.

“We are very sad to hear of the death of Geoffrey Hughes. He created a legendary and iconic character in Eddie Yates who will always be part of Coronation Street. Everyone connected with the programme sends our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.” A Coronation Street spokesman said.

The actor was born in Merseyside in 1944, after leaving school he began his acting career taking on various tours in repertory theatre before a successful run of performances in several West End productions.

It was television however where he would reach international fame when in 1974 he joined Granada Television’s flagship twice weekly serial, Coronation Street.  The character of Eddie Yeats, a binman and occasional Rovers Return ‘pot washer’, first arrived – fresh from prison – looking for a place to stay, residing for a time with Minnie Cadwell.

It wasn’t until his later return, having gone back to crime – and prison, in 1976 when he would become a fan favourite thanks to being teamed up with the legendary double-act of Stan and Hilda Ogden. He became their on-off lodger and Stan’s partner in dodgy dealings and window cleaning.

Eddie helped Hilda to have her now legendary mural painted on the sitting room wall, almost conned Annie Walker into thinking she had unique monogrammed AW carpet which actually came from a bingo hall with the same initials and eventually settled down in 1982 when he married and moved away from Weatherfield. He made his last Coronation Street appearance in 1987 as part of Hilda Ogden’s farewell storyline, recent offers to return to the now five-episode-a-week soap have always been declined by the actor.

There were further theatre and film successes for  Hughes before a return to television in 1990 in the high rating sitcom Keeping Up Appearances which ran for five years.  

In 1998 another comedy brought him back into the public gaze when he took on a recurring role in The Royle Family for BBC One, appearing in episodes between 1998 and 2008.

It was back to drama in 2001 when he joined Yorkshire Television’s Sunday night 1960s set drama Heartbeat as wheeler-dealer Vernon Scripps.

Hughes other credits include drama in ATV’s The Saint and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), the BBC’s Making Out and Doctor Who as well as Central’s Boon and small parts in a host of legendary sitcoms including the BBC’s The Likely Lads and Dad’s Army, LWT’s Please Sir!, and Central’s The Upper Hand.

“Geoff wasn’t just an actor. He was my mate. I used to call him every few weeks but hadn’t spoken to him in about a fortnight. It’s such a loss.” – Ricky Tomlinson speaking to Meridan News

ITV state that the star died last night. They add Hughes had been receiving radiotherapy treatment following the discovery of Cancer after he became ill at his home on the Isle of Wight in August 2010.

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