Coronation Street legend William Roache has paid an emotional tribute to former co-star Johnny Briggs.
Describing the Mike Baldwin star as an ‘impeccable’ actor he said he was fortunate to have worked with the soap icon for so many years.
William, who has played Ken Barlow in Coronation Street since its launch in 1960, was at the centre of many dramatic scenes with Johnny who died on Sunday aged 85 following a long illness.
Ken held a longstanding feud with Johnny’s ruthless character Mike Baldwin, who ran the Baldwin’s Casuals and Underworld factories between 1976 and 2006.
Most memorably was Mike’s affair with Ken’s wife Deirdre which came to a head in a dramatic doorstep confrontation in 1983.
The affair made national headlines and when Deirdre reconciled with Ken, the news was flashed on the scoreboard at Old Trafford to 56,000 cheering fans.
William said: “So sorry to hear about Johnny.
“Mike Baldwin and Ken Barlow were arch enemies for many years, but as an actor, Johnny was impeccable, always good, and I was so fortunate to have worked with him for so many years. He was a strong character who will be greatly missed.
“I send my love to Johnny on his journey and to all those who are bound to miss him, he was an iconic Coronation Street character.
“Love you Johnny! X”
After fighting for Deirdre’s affections, fisticuffs broke out again between the two characters when smarmy Mike married Ken’s daughter Susan.
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Ken was strongly against the marriage and of Mike’s treatment of Susan, who kicked her out when she told him she had aborted their baby.
The pair were bound together in a supermarket siege in 2000.
But the following year their tempers boiled over again when they fought for custody of Adam, Mike’s secret son with Susan.
Johnny’s final scenes as Mike ironically were with his nemesis Ken who cradled him as he lay dying after suffering a massive heart attack.
After escaping from hospital and making it back to his beloved factory on Coronation Street, Mike’s legendary feud with Ken finally came to an end.
After battling Alzheimer’s his final words to Ken were: “You’re finished Barlow, Deirdre loves me, she’s mine.”