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Coronation Street actor Mark Eden dies aged 92

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image copyrightPA Media
image captionThe actor was married to fellow Coronation Street star Sue Nicholls

Mark Eden, who played Coronation Street villain Alan Bradley, has died at the age of 92.

The actor, who had been living with Alzheimer's disease "for some time", died early on New Year's Day, his agent confirmed in a statement.

Eden was married to fellow Coronation Street star Sue Nicholls, who plays Audrey Roberts.

He had been in hospital since November and died peacefully in the early hours of 1 January, his agent said.

"Mark had a long career spanning more than 50 years, including eight years in Coronation Street," he added.

"He is survived by his wife Sue, his daughter Polly, his stepson Saul and grand-daughter Emma. We ask that their privacy be respected at this very difficult time."

Why viewers will never forget evil Alan Bradley

image copyrightITV
image captionAlan Bradley's death is one of the most memorable scenes in Coronation Street history

Eden's character Alan Bradley - whose daughter Jenny is the current Rovers Return landlady - was one of Weatherfield's most notorious bad boys in the late 1980s. He cheated on Rita Fairclough several times during their relationship and then remortgaged her house without her knowledge so he could fraudulently obtain funds for his security firm.

After Rita reported the fraud, he attempted to suffocate her with a cushion. After being found guilty of fraud and actual bodily harm, he was only given a short jail sentence and quickly continued his torment of Rita, who eventually fled the street to escape his harassment.

Bradley tracked her down in Blackpool but met a sticky end when, in one of the soap's most dramatic scenes, he was struck by a tram as he chased her through the town.

The episode was watched by 21.4 million viewers - and Eden later unveiled a plaque at the tram stop where the scene was filmed.

image captionEden (centre) starred alongside William Hartnell and Martin Miller in the first series of Doctor Who

Eden was born in London in 1928 and decided to become an actor in his teens after falling in love with Shakespeare.

However, he was unable to launch a career until he was almost 30, he told the Daily Express newspaper in 2013.

"I contracted tuberculosis, spent two years in a sanatorium, worked on the fairgrounds, got married… in fact, I was almost 30 by the time I joined Everyman Theatre Group in Ramsgate," he said.

"The East Kent Times gave me a rave review for my first play and that was all the encouragement I needed."

His first screen credit was in 1958, with a role in Quatermass And The Pit; and he later played Marco Polo in the first series of Doctor Who.

Other roles came in the 1965 film Doctor Zhivago, starring Julie Christie and Omar Sharif, TV show The Avengers and the 1970s detective serial Lord Peter Wimsey.

Later in his career he appeared in Doctors and Casualty, with his last screen credit in 2013 in the TV movie An Adventure In Space And Time.

Actress Sally Ann Matthews, who played his Coronation Street daughter Jenny Bradley, was among those paying tribute.

"I loved this man so much," she wrote on Instagram. "Thank you for being the most wonderful TV dad, teacher and friend."

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