Coronation Street actor, comedian and music hall historian Roy Hudd was today praised as ‘much loved and amazingly talented’ after his death aged 83.
The veteran entertainer hosted BBC Radio 2 sketch show The News Huddlines from 1975 until 2001 and also starred as Archie Shuttleworth in Coronation Street.
Hudd started out as a Red Coat at Butlin’s Clacton on the Essex coast before a varied career in television, variety shows and comedy that ran for more than 60 years.
He was also an authority on the history of music hall entertainment and made his final TV appearance as recently as last July as a patient in the BBC’s Casualty.
Hudd had been unwell for a few weeks, and his death was not coronavirus-related.
Roy Hudd and his wife Debbie arrive at All Hallows Church in Tillington, West Sussex, for the funeral of actress June Whitfield on January 18, 2019
Coronation Street actor, comedian and music hall historian Roy Hudd is pictured in June 2019
Roy Hudd with presenter Bradley Walsh on ITV game show The Chase in August 2017
His agent said today: ‘We are sad to announce the passing of the much-loved and amazingly talented Roy Hudd OBE.
‘After a short illness, Roy passed away peacefully on the afternoon of Sunday March 15, with his wife Debbie at his side.
‘The family would ask you to respect their privacy at this very sad time.’
Hudd, who was born in Croydon, South London, in 1936, initially worked in telephone exchanges for the RAF.
Roy Hudd as Henry Ormonroyd with Rosemary Ashe as Lottie Grady in When We Are Married at The Garrick Theatre in London in October 2010
Hudd as Henry Ormanroyd in When We Are Married at The Garrick Theatre in October 2010
Hudd takes a curtain call in The Wizard of Oz at the Royal Festival Hall in London in July 2008
His interest in entertaining was sparked when he went to live with his grandmother who regularly took him to Croydon’s Empire Theatre.
Hudd made his professional debut as a comedian in 1957 at the Streatham Hill Theatre, where he was billed as The Peculiar Person.
In 1958, he joined the Redcoats at Butlin’s Clacton and worked alongside Sir Cliff Richard and Dave Allen.
Across a varied career, he appeared in Call The Midwife, Midsomer Murders and Holby City, as well as Dennis Potter’s Lipstick On Your Collar, and Karaoke.
Hudd as Professor Marvel and Sian Brooke as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz in London in 2008
Actors Roy Hudd as Edward McKeever and Patricia Routledge as Laura Partridge in a staging of 1950s comedy The Solid Gold Cadillac at The Garrick Theatre in London in September 2004
Other projects include acclaimed comedy-drama Common As Muck and David Jason’s The Quest.
His passion for music hall meant that alongside writing books, he also re-recorded and restored old music hall records, and appeared in a revival show called The Good Old Days.
He was the longstanding president of the British Music Hall Society, and chose the genre as his specialist subject when he appeared on Celebrity Mastermind in 2014.
He was awarded an OBE for services to entertainment in the 2004 New Year Honours List.
Hudd holds his OBE for services to entertainment at Buckingham Palace in February 2004
Hudd plays Archie Shuttleworth with Sue Nicholls as Audrey Roberts and Brian Capron as Richard Hillman in Coronation Street in June 2002
Hudd plays a game of snooker in July 1984. He died yesterday aged 83 with his wife by his side
In 2017 he appeared in ITV’s Broadchurch and in 2019 made an appearance as a patient in the BBC’s Casualty.
Last year he showed off an eight stone weight loss after getting gastric band surgery.
Hudd met his second wife Debbie Flitcroft while they were working together in pantomime in Nottingham.
He has a son, Max, from a previous marriage to Ann Lambert.
Hudd (left), as Bud Flanagan, and Christopher Timothy, as Chesney Allen, at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London for the dress rehearsal of Underneath the Arches in February 1982
Roy Hudd appears in Frost On Sunday in 1968, a talk show series for LWT on in the late 1960s
Roy Hudd at home in Croydon, South London, with his three-year-old son Max in May 1967
Sherlock, and Dracula writer Mark Gatiss paid tribute to Hudd with a message on Twitter saying: ‘Farewell to the wonderful Roy Hudd.
‘A great comic and actor. One of those joyous people who feel like they’ve been with us forever.
‘He was in a ‘Randall & Hopkirk’ I wrote with Jeremy Dyson and improvised the band’s sign off as ‘Jock Strap and his Two Swingers there!’ RIP Maestro.’
And DailyMail.com US Editor-at-Large Piers Morgan tweeted: ‘RIP Roy Hudd, 83. A wonderfully versatile & very funny old school music hall entertainer.
‘Made millions of people laugh, which is a wonderful legacy.’
Michael Barrymore thanked Hudd for helping him earlier in his career when he was ‘the new kid on the block’ when the pair were performing together at a theatre in Paignton, Devon in 1976.
‘I didn’t have a clue and you helped and guided me,’ he wrote on Twitter.
Comedian Rory Bremner tweeted: ‘The lovely Roy Hudd embodied a whole strand of the DNA of British comedy, from music hall and variety to pantomime and stand-up.
‘A living museum, full of joy, humour and enthusiasm. A great life and a great loss.’
Comedy writer and radio DJ Danny Baker tweeted: ‘Bravo, Roy Hudd. I hope you can hear the applause thundering in your ears.
‘What a turn. What an archive. What company. Now you can give Max Miller his hat back.’
Comedian Sandi Toksvig tweeted: ‘Roy Hudd was a comic genius but more than that he was one of the nicest people in show business. At least the heavens will be rocking with laughter.’
Comedy writer Simon Blackwell tweeted: ‘Very sad indeed to hear that Roy Hudd has died. A really lovely bloke, a great comedian, excellent straight actor.
‘And a comedy historian too. I got my start in comedy writing via his Radio 2 show The News Huddlines. He was a total joy to write for. All good wishes to his family.’
Actor and director Samuel West tweeted: ‘Roy Hudd has left the stage, and all of us are poorer for it.
‘An endlessly entertaining comic, a fabulous actor and one of the absolutely nicest people I ever had the privilege of working with.’
And a spokesman for the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre added: ‘We are all saddened to hear of the passing of Roy Hudd.
‘Roy appeared on our stage several times, with his most recent role in A Woman of No Importance last October / November. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this difficult time’.
And, making reference to the coronavirus pandemic, actor Oliver Maltman tweeted: ‘ Farewell, Roy Hudd. Your timing, as ever, is impeccable. Couldn’t have chosen a better time to duck out.’
Veteran entertainer Roy Hudd’s career spanned satire, music hall and drama
Roy Hudd is pictured in November 1996
Roy Hudd had a wide-ranging career on stage, television and radio spanning decades after starting out performing in variety shows.
His interest in entertaining was sparked by his grandmother, who would regularly take him to Croydon’s Empire Theatre in south London, which was near to where he grew up.
However, before he got his break as a performer, Hudd, who was born in 1936, had a number of different jobs.
These included working at a telephone exchange for the RAF and as a messenger for an advertising agency, as well as jobs as a window dresser and a commercial artist.
When he finally started out as a comic towards the end of the 1950s, he was known by his stage name, The Peculiar Person.
He later became a Butlins Redcoat entertainer at a holiday park in Clacton, Essex, where he worked alongside singer Sir Cliff Richard.
Hudd then went on to perform in variety shows in London and developed a lifelong association with the genre, writing several books on the topic and serving as president of the British Music Hall Society.
Hudd rehearses at the London Palladium before the Royal Variety Show in November 1980
However it was in satirical comedy that Hudd made his name after he began his TV career in 1964 with the series That Was The Week That Was in an era that was dubbed the ‘satire boom’.
Hudd was perhaps best known for the long-running programme The News Huddlines, which ran for 26 years from 1975 to 2001.
After the programme stopped being broadcast, he went on to perform roles in a variety of hit TV dramas including Call The Midwife, Midsomer Murders, Ashes To Ashes and Broadchurch.
He also starred in a number of soaps, playing undertaker Archie Shuttleworth in Coronation Street, as well as appearing in Holby City and Casualty.
Hudd, who has a son, Max, from his first marriage, lived with his second wife, Debbie Flitcroft, in south London.
The pair met while working together in panto in Nottingham.
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