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Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 20:09 GMT 21:09 UK
Street fans witness Baldwin's end
Coronation Street

Coronation Street viewers have bid farewell to Mike Baldwin who met a sad end after 30 years in the show.

Baldwin's final scenes, shown on ITV1, saw the Alzheimer's-stricken factory boss die in the arms of former rival Ken Barlow.

Friday's instalment was expected to be a ratings hit for the drama, which attracts 11 million viewers each night.

Baldwin, played by Johnny Briggs, has been one of the soap's most enduring characters since he arrived in 1976.

He first appeared as a boyfriend of Rovers barmaid Bet Lynch before relationships with Deirdre Barlow and Alma Halliwell.

But the character has been suffering from Alzheimer's for several months and has been in hospital suffering from pneumonia.

Johnny Briggs (left) in Coronation Street
Actor Johnny Briggs is one of the soap's longest-serving stars
Friday's episode saw him leave hospital and find his way back to the street in a daze, where he was found by Barlow.

His demise inspired the Radio Times to recreate the famous Death of Nelson painting, featuring Baldwin in the Nelson pose surrounded by fellow soap characters.

Briggs is also backing an Alzheimer's Society fundraising appeal to help those affected by the disease.

Now 70, he has been acting since the age of 12. His previous credits include small roles in Carry On films and BBC police series Z Cars.

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