“It is with great sadness we’ve learned respected former Coronation Street actor Peter Baldwin has died,” says a Coronation Street spokesperson. “Peter passed away at his home in north London last night after a short illness.
“We send our sincere condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.”
Thelma Barlow as Mavis and Peter Baldwin as on-screen husband Derek in Coronation Street (PA)
Tributes have started to pour in from friends and colleagues.
Sally Ann Matthews, who plays Corrie’s Jenny Bradley, took to Twitter with a heartfelt message:
Lovely Peter Baldwin. Such a gentle, kind, funny man and a wonderful actor and toy shop purveyor x
— Sally Ann Matthews (@SallyAnMatthews) October 23, 2015
Former Corrie actor Charles Lawson tweeted: “Very sorry to hear of the death of Peter Baldwin. I remember him in The GTV Club drinking G+T and putting £££££s in the bandit!! Good chap.”
Stuart Wolfenden, another former Corrie actor, tweeted: “Sad to hear the news Peter Baldwin has passed. Lovely man! Derek Wilton one of the Great Corrie Characters!!? RIP Peter”
The actor first appeared as Coronation Street’s Derek in 1976. His character began dating dithering Mavis Riley (Thelma Barlow) shortly afterwards, but their protracted relationship did not lead to marriage until 1988.
Derek was written out of the soap in 1997, when he had a heart attack after arguing with a driver in a road rage incident.
Peter, who was born in Sussex, married actress Sarah Long.
She presented the BBC’s long-running children’s programme Play School, but died from cancer in 1987.
Between acting jobs, he worked at Pollock’s Toy Museum and managed its traditional toy shop in London’s Covent Garden, taking ownership of the shop in 1988.
The actor was still recognised for his role in Coronation Street, as he told the BBC in 2010.
“I even get customers from America, Canada and New Zealand who watch repeats of the show and are very surprised to see me when they walk into the shop,” he said.
Peter is survived by his two children.