Best known for her role as Rovers Return barmaid Bet Lynch, Corrie favourite Julie Goodyear has paid tribute to the late Tony Warren.

The 73-year-old said they “cried together” and “laughed together” and that she felt “very proud” of the man who created ITV’s long-running soap.

In a statement, she spoke with warmth about the Lancashire-born legend.

Tony Warren, creator of Coronation Street, with Julie Goodyear

Tony Warren, creator of Coronation Street with Julie Goodyear (Ian West/PA)

“Tony Warren and I have been close friends for 50 years and I have felt very privileged to have him in my life,” she said.

“We cried together and we laughed together. We shared exactly the same outrageously camp sense of humour and that got us through so many of the tough times that can happen in life. But the good times that we shared far outnumber the tough times.”

Tony Warren on Coronation Street

Tony Warren on Coronation Street (ITV pictures)

“Tony asked me to accompany him to receive his MBE at Buckingham Palace, and of course I accepted. I felt so very proud of him and all that he had achieved in creating Coronation Street and, of course, the work this gave to so many others on both sides of the camera and also in many other countries around the world.

“The immense pleasure that Coronation Street has given to all its viewers since Tony created it in 1960 really is amazing – and it still does. It lives on and on.

Tony and I never said the word ‘goodbye’ to each other – even after a phone conversation. We always said ‘angels guard’. And that is what I’m saying now to him – ‘Angels guard’.”

Julie remains a household name thanks to her portrayal of brassy barmaid Bet.

Considered one of the best-loved characters in the soap’s history, Bet became a favourite for her big earrings, revealing clothes and disastrous love life.

Julie left the soap after 26 years in 1995. She made occasional returns, but has not appeared since 2003.