Soap star Geoffrey Hughes dies

Soap star and sitcom favourite Geoffrey Hughes has died aged 68. For many he will be remembered as the genial binman Eddie Yates from Coronation Street, but he enjoyed later success in Keeping Up Appearances and The Royle Family.

Hughes had been battling prostate cancer. He thought he had beaten the illness in 2009 but it returned. The actor died peacefully at his family home on the Isle of Wight.

As Eddie Yates, the lodger of Stan and Hilda Ogden, Hughes became a household name in the 1970s. After he left the soap it was difficult finding roles to match the larger-than-life Eddie, but Hughes later enjoyed similar success in sitcoms.

A spokesperson for Coronation Street said: "We are very sad to hear of the death of Geoffrey Hughes. He created a legendary and iconic character in Eddie Yates who will always be part of Coronation Street. Everyone connected with the programme send our sincerest condolences to his family."

William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in the soap said: "I am so sorry to hear about Geoffrey. He was a warm, lovable actor, with great comedy timing. He will be greatly missed, one of the Street's memorable characters."

Ricky Tomlinson, who acted with Hughes in The Royle Family said: "Geoff wasn't just an actor. He was my mate. I used to call him every few weeks but hadn't spoken to him in about a fortnight. It's such a loss."

Hughes’s career before the soap included bit parts in iconic series like Z Cars and The Likely Lads, although his most enduring role may turn out to be the voice of Paul McCartney in the animated film of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine.

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