Johnny Briggs recalls how he got his iconic Corrie role

Speaking last week to the TVTimes magazine, actor Johnny Briggs – Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street – talked about how he came to get land the Corrie role.

Mike Baldwin has been part of Weatherfield for thirty years.

“I’m 70 now, and you realise that you can’t go on working forever – there comes a point where you’ve just got to pull the reins back a bit.” – Johnny Briggs

Mike Baldwin has become one of the Corrie greats appearing from 1976 as the cockney businessman, Johnny actually got the role thanks to another ITV serial – Crossroads – as Briggs told the TV Times;

“It was when I was in Crossroads playing taxi firm boss Clifford Leyton that the Coronation Street producer, Bill Podmore, wanted a Londoner. He said to the Crossroads producer, Jack Barton, ‘That Johnny Briggs, is he alright?’ Jack said ‘Yeah, he knows his lines, he turns up to the set on time,’ so I was asked to do it and I said ‘Ok, I’ll do three months.’ Then the years have just crept up…” – Johnny Briggs

In Crossroads, which was set in the fictional West Midland village of Kings Oak, Johnny played Clifford Leyton, a wheeler-dealer who ran a taxi company. During his time at the ATV production┬áthe character became involved with a shady casino and the Crossroads Motel Garage. After two years with Crossroads, he switched Birmingham for Manchester and became Mike Baldwin, owner of Baldwin Casuals and later Underworld – the factories on Coronation Street.

During his time he has seen a long running feud with Ken Barlow amplified by his affair with Ken’s wife Deidre. He was also done for drink driving, had several flings, one of which saw him beaten up by the husband of his lover and had a spell sharing number 5 with Rovers Return barmaid Bet Lynch.

“The cast are like a family to me – they’re really caring people and I love them. I’ve spent more time with them than I have with my own children, and they really are lovely people. Saying goodbye to Mike was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It was only when we finished filming that it hit me – this was the last time I was going to be Mike. I’m going to miss the old devil.” – Johnny Briggs

Johnny as Clifford Layton (second left) in Crossroads with Susan Hanson as Diane (left) and Zeph Gladstone as Vera (far right).