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John Savident, Coronation Street’s Fred Elliott, passes away at 86

The world of television has lost one of its most beloved stars, as John Savident, who played the iconic character of Fred Elliott in Coronation Street, died on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, at the age of 86. He was surrounded by his family and friends at his home in London, where he had been battling a long illness.

Savident was born in Guernsey, Channel Islands, on April 21, 1937. He had a varied career before becoming an actor, working as a police officer, a fireman, a journalist, and a teacher. He made his acting debut in 1969, appearing in various stage and screen productions, such as A Clockwork Orange, Gandhi, The Life and Death of King John, and Yes Minister.

However, he was best known for his role as Fred Elliott, the lovable butcher, in Coronation Street, which he joined in 1994. He quickly became a fan favorite, with his distinctive catchphrase “I say, I say”, his jovial personality, and his romantic escapades. He was involved in some of the most memorable storylines of the show, such as his rivalry with Mike Baldwin, his marriages to Maureen Holdsworth and Bev Unwin, his discovery of his long-lost son Ashley Peacock, and his tragic death from a stroke on his wedding day to Audrey Roberts in 2006.

He left the show in 2006, after suffering a real-life health scare when he was stabbed by a burglar in his home. He later revealed that he had also been diagnosed with throat cancer, which he successfully fought off. He continued to act in other shows, such as Holby City, Waterloo Road, and Doctors, until his retirement in 2013.

He is survived by his wife Rona, whom he married in 1979, and his two children, Jonathan and Trudy, from his previous marriage to Doreen. He also had four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

His family issued a statement, saying: “We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved John. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, and a brilliant actor who brought joy to millions of people. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and loved him.”

His co-stars and colleagues also paid tribute to him, praising his talent, humor, and generosity. William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, said: “John was a great friend and a legend of the show. He was always full of fun and laughter, and a pleasure to work with. He was a superb actor who created one of the most memorable characters in soap history. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.”

Sally Dynevor, who plays Sally Webster in Coronation Street, said: “John was a lovely man and a fantastic actor. He was always so kind and supportive to me and everyone else. He had such a presence and charisma, and made Fred Elliott a household name. He was a true professional and a joy to work with. I send my deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

The producers of Coronation Street also expressed their sadness and gratitude, saying: “We are deeply saddened by the news of John Savident’s death. He was a brilliant actor who made a huge contribution to Coronation Street and the soap genre. He created one of the most iconic and unforgettable characters in the show’s history, and entertained millions of viewers for over a decade. He was a valued member of the Coronation Street family, and we will always remember him with fondness and respect. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this difficult time.”

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