Coronation Street legend Johnny Briggs dies aged 85

LONDON - MAY 20: Actor, Johnny Briggs with his award given for "Lifetime Achievement", in the Pressroom at the British Soap Awards 2006 at BBC Television Centre on May 20, 2006 in London, England. The annual awards recognise the best in British Soaps, with categories including Best Villain, Sexiest Male and Female, Best Actor and Actress and Best Soap. (Photo by Ben Stansall/Getty Images) (Image credit: Getty Images)

The star was best known for playing Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street.

Coronation Street legend Johnny Briggs has sadly passed away after battling a long illness.

News of Johnny's passing was announced today in a statement by his children.

The statement read: "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father, Johnny Briggs.

Johnny Briggs and Keith Duffy

Johnny pictured with his Coronation Street co-star Keith Duffy (Picture: Getty) (Image credit: Getty Images)

"He passed away peacefully this morning after a long illness, with family by his side. He was 85.

"We politely ask for privacy at this time, so that we can quietly grieve as a family and remember the wonderful times we had with him. Thank you."

More: Coronation Street fans spot something worrying about Johnny Connor's storyline 

Playing Mike Baldwin 

The actor appeared in a staggering 2,349 episodes of Coronation Street as lothario Mike Baldwin.

He joined the soap in 1976 and was caught up in some of the biggest storylines, before departing the cobbles in April 2006.

Coronation Street Johnny Briggs, Amanda Barrie and William Roache

Coronation Street's Mike Baldwin and Ken Barlow, pictured with Alma Baldwin, infamously never got on (Picture: Getty) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Feud with Ken Barlow 

Mike infamously had an on-going feud with neighbour Ken Barlow after it was revealed that Mike had been having a fling with Deirdre Barlow while she was still married to Ken.

The storyline was so huge that it was even reported in national newspapers.

The episode when Deirdre ended things with Mike and reunited with Ken was the soap's highest rated episode at the time.

Fans were so invested in the love triangle that the news was announced on the scoreboard during a Manchester United v Arsenal match at Old Trafford with the words 'Ken and Deirdre reunited. Ken 1 - Mike 0'.

Johnny eventually left Coronation Street after 30 years as his character was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

After a long-running storyline focusing on Mike's ailing heath, the character was eventually killed off.

Mike fittingly spent his last moments in the arms of Ken Barlow.

Mike's legacy still continues in Coronation Street today, with his son, Adam Barlow, still very much a part of life on the cobbles.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.