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Wednesday, 2 October, 2002, 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK
Street star returns after heart op
Coronation Street stars Bill Tarmey and Liz Dawn
Tarmey was welcomed back by his screen wife, Liz Dawn
Coronation Street actor Bill Tarmey has returned to the show after having open heart surgery, and said it was "fantastic" to be back.

Tarmey, who plays Jack Duckworth in the ITV1 soap, said he was glad to be among his friends after undergoing a heart by-pass and having a pacemaker fitted in June.

The actor spent three months recuperating after complications following the surgery.

Coronation Street stars Bill Tarmey and Liz Dawn at the Inside Soap Awards
The pair were honoured at the Inside Soap Awards
He was moved out of intensive care a day earlier than expected after initially responding well.

But he was later moved back into the intensive care unit at the Alexandra Hospital in Greater Manchester after a reported minor heart attack.

The 61-year-old former builder has become a fixture on the Street after 24 years playing the workshy husband of Vera Duckworth, played by Liz Dawn.

His return comes days after he and Dawn were honoured with an outstanding achievement award at the Inside Soap Awards.

Tarmey has a long history of heart problems, suffering a massive heart attack in 1976 and bypass surgery 10 years later.

Bill Tarmey and Liz Dawn
Tarmey has been in the show since 1979
He said viewers had deluged him with goodwill messages after the latest operation.

"I had so many cards and letters that it took me two full days to read them all when I got home from hospital," he said.

"It's fantastic to be back doing a job I love, surrounded by people I love."

The cast and crew welcomed him back with open arms, he added.

"It was funny when I first walked on set because I was suddenly really nervous and I wondered if I could do it again," he said.

"But once the cameras were rolling everything was great."

Charity

Tarmey was not involved in any major storylines before the surgery, so writing him out did not cause scriptwriters any major problems.

He is an ardent fundraiser for heart disease charities.

But the performer is also a heavy smoker and refuses to give up.

His character on the Street has also endured a triple heart-bypass after suffering angina.

See also:

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