Coronation Street: John Savident, who played butcher Fred Elliott, dies aged 86

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Much-loved Coronation Street actor John Savident, who played butcher Fred Elliott, has died aged 86

A much-loved Coronation Street actor from the 1990s and noughties has died aged 86, his agent has confirmed.

John Savident played Fred Elliott, Weatherfield's bumbling, booming and often stroppy butcher from 1994 to 2006. Fred - full name Frederick Handel Elliott - had a habit of repeating both what he and others had just said, so his inadvertent catchphrases became "I said" and "I say".

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A secret son, Ashley Peacock (played by Steven Arnold), also arrived on the show and the two later developed a close bond as they worked as butchers together.

Having started as a fully comic character, his personality became more nuanced and he became a linchpin of the soap. Fred bowed out in dramatic and tragic style, dying from a massive stroke on his wedding day to Bev Unwin (Susie Blake), moments after speaking to Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) who had confessed to feelings for him.

Savident was born in Guernsey and had to flee the Second World War German occupation of the island with his family in a fishing boat. Having settled in England, he became a policeman before turning to acting, and before Coronation Street appeared in A Clockwork Orange, Blake's 7, and the film The Remains of the Day, as well as playing roles in Doctor Who and The Saint.

Savident had been married to Rona Hopkinson since 1961 and the couple had two children and several grandchildren. A statement from his agent to the PA news agency said: “We are sad to announce the death of the actor John Savident who died on Wednesday 21 February, he was a much-loved husband and father of two and will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”

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