Julie Goodyear has paid an emotional tribute to her late "Coronation Street" co-star Roy Barraclough following his shock death this week at the age of 81.
The soap legend - who played Rovers Return landlord Alec Gilroy - passed away on Thursday (01.06.17), and his on-screen wife, who portrayed Bet Lynch, has admitted they shared a close friendship away from the cameras long after he left the show.
Remembering Roy, the actress said in a statement: "I have no words to describe how devastated I feel. We were just like a married couple. We kept in close touch and spoke to each other at least two or three times every week. I will treasure all the happy times we had working and laughing together. Rest in peace Roy. I will always love you."
In a further tribute, last night's "Corrie" episode was fittingly dedicated to the star, with executive producer Kieran Roberts commending his "genius".
He added: "The fact that Alec Gilroy was at the heart of the show for so many years and was held in such affection by so many fans is a tribute to Roy's genius, for drama as well as comedy."
At the end of Thursday's episode, viewers could see a picture of Roy, 81, with the words: "In memory of Roy Barraclough 1935 - 2017."
Barraclough, who was awarded an MBE for services to drama and charity in 2006, first appeared in "Coronation Street" in 1964, before he joined the soap on a permanent basis in 1986.
During his lengthy career, Barraclough also appeared in a 2016 revival of the sitcom "Are You Being Served?", as well as "Last of the Summer Wine", "Casualty" and a stage production of the Arthur Miller play "Death of a Salesman".