John Savident: Actor who played Fred Elliott in Coronation Street dies | Ents & Arts News

Feb 23, 2024 | Uncategorized

John Savident, best known for playing Fred Elliott in Coronation Street, has died aged 86.

Savident arrived on the famous cobbles in 1994 and was quickly established as a fan favourite, known for his booming voice while playing butcher Fred on the ITV soap.

The show’s X account paid tribute to an actor with “peerless comic timing, combined with deep pathos”, while EastEnders actor Stuart Antony described him as “lovely and witty”.

“We are sad to announce the death of the actor John Savident who died on Wednesday 21 February,” Savident’s agent said.

“He was a much-loved husband and father of two and will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”

Butcher Fred’s disastrous love life, including three marriages and several failed proposals, provided many of the character’s most memorable storylines on the soap.

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.

John Savident.
Pic: PA
John Savident. Pic: PA

In 2006, Savident’s character was killed off the show after suffering a stroke on the day he was supposed to marry Bev Unwin, played by Susie Blake.

His character’s death also saw Audrey Roberts, played by Sue Nicholls, admit she still loved him – even after turning down his marriage proposal years previously.

His career beyond Corrie stretched to political comedy Yes, Minister, biopic Gandhi, Stanley Kubrick’s dystopian thriller A Clockwork Orange and war film Battle Of Britain.

He also appeared in Doctor Who and period dramas The Remains Of The Day and Middlemarch.

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John Savident picking up the award for Best Soap by TV viewers, at Carlton TV's British Soap Awards in 1999. Pic :PA
John Savident picking up the award for Best Soap by TV viewers, at Carlton TV’s British Soap Awards in 1999. Pic: PA

He was also in the first staging of the musical Phantom Of The Opera, in October 1986, as the opera house owner Monsieur Firmin.

In 2011, he then returned to play the character at the Royal Albert Hall concert film.

Savident was married to theatre director Rona Hopkinson and they had two children.

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