Former Coronation Street actor Roy Barraclough has died aged 81 following a short illness, his agent said in a statement. 

The Lancashire-born comic was best known for playing Rovers Return landlord Alec Gilroy on the long-running soap. 

Gavin Barker Associates short statement reads: “Our client Roy Barraclough has passed away today aged 81 after a short illness.”

Barraclough first appeared on Coronation Street in 1972, making occasional appearances before becoming a cast regular in 1986.

The character's marriage to Bet Lynch and pub take-over was a pivotal plot-line for the series, Barraclough reappearing on the ITV show numerous times after leaving in 1992.

Barraclough was also one half of Cissie and Ada, a drag double-act with comedian Les Dawson, the latter playing Ada Shufflebotham while Barraclough played Cissie, described as the 'more refined of the two'.

Other TV performances included Castle Haven, Rising Damp, George and Mildred, Last of the Summer Wine, and last year's Are You Being Served?.

In 2006, the actor was awarded an MBE for services to drama and charity in the North West. Barraclough also served as a patron of Willow Wood Hospice in Greater Manchester, where he reportedly died following his illness.