John Savident: Coronation Street actor dies at 86

John Savident played Fred Elliott on Coronation Street for 12 years, and was a definite fan favourite.

John Savident dies
John Savident dies

John Savident was known for playing the beloved Fred Elliott on Coronation Street. He first appeared on the soap in 1994 as the loud butcher of the town, and quickly became a fan favourite. Watchers of the show were devastated to learn of the actor’s death, announced by his agent to the PA news agency:

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We are sad to announce the death of the actor John Savident who died on Wednesday. He was a much-loved husband and father of two and will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Let’s take a look over Savident’s time on the show and the heartwarming tributes that have poured in for the actor since his passing was announced.

Savident on Coronation Street

The news of Savident’s passing comes not long after the death of iconic soap star Georgina Hale and both had fans who were truly invested in their storylines. For Savident, this involved many a failed relationship for his character, including three marriages and several failed proposals. Fred Elliott even had a secret son; viewers watched the pair grow close on the show until they ended up working together as butchers. Elliott was killed off in 2006 after suffering a stroke, but fans remember Savident’s iconic 12-year portrayal of the character to this day.

Iain MacLeod, ITV's executive producer for continuing drama, stated that Savident ‘firmly established himself in the pantheon of Coronation Street greats’:

His peerless comic timing, combined with a deep pathos arising from his outstanding dramatic skill, made Fred an unforgettable, iconic character that provided great joy to viewers for many years.

Tributes to Savident

Outside of Coronation Street, Savident also played in the comedy Yes, Minister and appeared in Doctor Who. He had other various appearances on TV, and even acted opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins in 1993 in the Oscar-nominated The Remains Of The Day. After his work in Coronation Street, he appeared in several stage productions. He was married to theatre director Rona Hopkinson, with whom he had two children.

Over the years, Savident made many friends in the industry, and a lot of lovely stories and comments about him have poured forth following the news. Broadcaster Tom Hourigan praised Savident’s career, saying he gave ‘arguably one of the most distinctive characters - and deliveries - in British soap history’. Sue Nicholls, who played alongside Savident in Corrie as his long-term love interest Audrey Roberts, focused on the man behind the performance. She thanked him for bringing ‘joy’ to her life:

My memories of working with you dear John on the street are a joy, and always will be.
God bless you and thank you for being in my life. Much love to you and your friends and family.

Details about the actor’s cause of death or funeral arrangements are yet to be released.

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Sources used:

SkyNews: John Savident: Actor who played Fred Elliott in Coronation Street dies

BBC: John Savident: Coronation Street's Fred Elliott dies aged 86

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