Co-star laments passing of 'true gentleman'


Actor Bill Tarmey, who as Coronation Street's Jack Duckworth was one of British television's most recognisable faces, has died aged 71.

An ITV spokeswoman confirmed the actor, who left the soap in 2010, died this morning while on holiday in Tenerife.

Tarmey played loveable rogue Duckworth, with his trademark glasses held together with sticky tape, for more than 30 years.

Tarmey and Liz Dawn, who played his battle-axe wife Vera until she left the show in 2008, were among the most popular characters on the street.

Dawn paid tribute, saying: "Bill was part of my family. When you work with someone for so long, as we did, it becomes more than just work.

"You couldn't wish to meet a more lovely man and a true gentleman. He was a gentle giant and I will miss him so much."

Mancunian Tarmey made his first appearance in the soap as an extra in 1977 while working as a club singer. His potential was spotted and two years later he landed the role that made him famous.

In his final scenes in the soap, viewers saw his character die peacefully in his armchair before he was seen, in a dream-like sequence, sharing a last dance with Vera. - (PA)