'Coronation Street' and 'Early Doors' star Rodney Litchfield dies aged 81

Rodney Litchfield in promotional stills for Coronation Street. (ITV/Getty)
Rodney Litchfield in promotional stills for Coronation Street. (ITV/Getty)

Former Coronation Street and Early Doors star Rodney Litchfield has died at the age of 81.

The Wigan-born actor, who was also known for his appearances in Emmerdale and Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights, died in his sleep at the weekend.

Phil Mealey, who co-wrote Early Doors with Craig Cash, revealed the news on Twitter, writing: “Really sad news that Rodney Lichfield aka Old Tommy passed away peacefully in his sleep Saturday aged 81, having been poorly for some time.

“We were blessed to meet and cast him as he was absolutely perfect. To you Rodders and To The Regiment it won't be the same without you. RIPx [sic]”

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Litchfield played ill-tempered pensioner Tommy in the BBC sitcom, and also appeared in Coronation Street in 2007 as scamming grandad Wilf Morton.

'Grandad Morton' (played by Rodney Litchfield) is introduced to Coronation Street as part of the 'Morton Family' during a photocall at Granada Studios in Manchester.   (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Rodney Litchfield played Grandad Morton on Coronation Street. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Actress Christine Bottomley, who starred in comedy Early Doors with Litchfield, tweeted in tribute: “Sorry to here [sic] one of our Earlydoors family has left the building x will watch me some outtakes tonight I think and remember our dear friend #RodneyLitchfield #OldTommy will miss you mate x [sic]”

And comedian Justin Moorhouse, who worked with Litchfield on Channel 4 sitcom Phoenix Nights, wrote: “Rest in Peace Rodney. He was also magnificent as Wild Bill in Phoenix Nights. ’ What's he doing now? He's digging for gold!’”

Litchfield first broke into acting in the 1980s and had roles in acclaimed British acclaimed British TV shows including Cracker, Heartbeat, A Touch Of Frost, Casualty, The Bill and Doctors.

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Early Doors, written by Mealey and Cash, ran on BBC Two for two series between 2003 and 2004 telling the daily life of the staff and regulars in Stockport pub The Grapes.

Its cast included James McAvoy and Maxine Peake.

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