Comedian, actor and presenter Roy Hudd, best-known in recent years for his role in ITV’s Coronation Street as Archie Shuttleworth and for a 26-year run on BBC Radio 2, has died.
“We are sad to announce the passing of the much-loved and amazingly talented Roy Hudd OBE. After a short illness, Roy passed away peacefully on Sunday 15 March, with his wife Debbie at his side.” – Family Statement
Born in Croydon in May 1936 he was educated at Tavistock Secondary Modern School and Croydon Secondary Technical School venturing into the world of work first in an advertising agency, later had a spell as a window dresser and then joined the Harry Beck company, designer of the current London Underground map, as a commercial artist.
It wasn’t until 1957 he made his professional performing debut, as a comic, at the Streatham Hill Theatre. Early comedy performances saw him partnered with friend Eddy Kay, billed as ‘The Peculiar Pair’. His love of the stage saw him become president of the British Music Hall Society and in the mid-1980s host BBC One series Halls of Fame, that took in several of Britain’s best-loved theatres. The show, a mix of theatrical and performance, saw Hudd introduce some of his theatre favourite performers and contemporary artists celebrating past stage icons. Theatres included Sunderland Empire, The Wolverhampton Grand and Palace Theatre Manchester.
It wasn’t just theatre that saw Hudd’s early comedy act. In 1958 he joined Butlin’s Holiday Camps as a Redcoat at their Clacton site. This saw Roy work alongside names of the day including fellow comedian Dave Allen and singer Cliff Richard.
By the 1960s he was working as a solo entertainer and this decade also saw Hudd appear on television as himself on series including BBC3, (Simon) Dee Time, Call My Bluff, Juke Box Jury and Val Doonican Show. In 1964 he was one of the ensemble that launched a successor to the BBC’s That Was the Week That Was with Not So Much A Way Of Life. In 1965 the Beeb launched his own sketch series Hudd, it turned into The Illustrated Weekly Hudd that ran for three series on the BBC from 1967.
In 1969 he hosted his first self-titled series for ITV from Yorkshire Television and carried on the Music Hall tradition with appearances on ATV’s Des O’Connor Show and Tell Me Another with Southern TV. He continued with weekly satire on ‘the wireless’ hosting BBC Radio 2’s The News Huddlines for 26 years.
In demand as a host he also fronted Comedy Tonight from the Talk of The Town and Movie Memories. As an actor he appeared in two Frankie Howerd movies Up Pompeii and Up The Chastity Belt as well as the saucy comedy The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins alongside Bruce Forsyth, Harry Secombe and Bernard Bresslaw.
In television drama he was praised for his roles in Dennis Potter’s Lipstick on your Collar and Karaoke. While other serious roles took in Ashes to Ashes, The Bill, Doctors, Holby City, Hollyoaks: In The City, Broadchurch and Granada Television soap opera Coronation Street where he appeared as undertaker Archie Shuttleworth over several stints.
In later years Roy was seen as an expert in comedy and appeared either as a talking head or comedy spot on shows such as Celebrity Squares, Britain’s Greatest Comedians, Great Lives and 100 Years of the London Palladium.
Roy passed away yesterday, March 15th, aged 83, with his wife Debbie at his side following a short illness.
“We are sad to announce the passing of the much-loved and amazingly talented Roy Hudd OBE. The family would ask you to respect their privacy at this very sad time.” – Family Statement