Mark Eden: Star who played Coronation Street villain Alan Bradley dies

Coronation Street actor Mark Eden has died at the age of 92.

The star was best known for playing villain Alan Bradley in the soap, and was married to co-star Sue Nicholls, who plays Audrey Roberts.

His agent said he had been living with Alzheimer's for some time and died peacefully in hospital on Friday morning.

"He is survived by his wife Sue, his daughter Polly, his stepson Saul, and granddaughter Emma," he said. "We ask that their privacy be respected at this very difficult time."

The actor's career spanned 50 years, with credits including roles in Doctor Zhivago and Crown Court.

Eden's most famous character, Alan Bradley, was one of Coronation Street's most notorious bad boys in the 1980s.

He cheated on Rita Fairclough repeatedly when they dated and then secretly remortgaged her house so he could fraudulently obtain funds for his security firm.

When she reported the fraud, he tried to suffocate her with a cushion and was given a short jail sentence for fraud and bodily harm.

Bradley later resumed his abuse of Rita, who eventually left the street to escape him - but he still managed to track her down in Blackpool.

The villain was knocked down and killed by a tram as he chased her down the street.

The episode, which aired in 1989, was watched by 21.4 million viewers - and Eden later unveiled a plaque at the tram stop where the scene was filmed.

Born in London in 1928, Eden's first screen credit was in 1958 with a role in Quatermass And The Pit.

He decided to become an actor in his teens after falling in love with Shakespeare, but was unable to get his career off the ground for years.

He played Marco Polo in the first series of Doctor Who and acted in the 1965 film Doctor Zhivago, starring Julie Christie and Omar Sharif.

Other roles came in TV shows The Avengers, Lord Peter Wimsey, Doctors and Casualty.

The last film he starred in was the TV movie An Adventure In Space And Time, released in 2013.

Actress Sally Ann Matthews, who played his long-lost Coronation Street daughter Jenny Bradley, is among those who have paid tribute to Eden.

"I loved this man so much," she wrote on Instagram. "Thank you for being the most wonderful TV dad, teacher and friend."

ITV executive John Whiston said he was "hugely saddened" and paid tribute to the actor's "fantastic dramatic legacy".

"He was a consummate actor and played the role of psychotic villain to a tee, making the character both chilling and credible," he said.

"The show owes Mark a great deal as he set the template for all the great villains to come, from Hillman and Phelan to our latest baddie, Geoff Metcalfe," he added.