They say it comes in threes and, after losing Bobby Knutt on Monday, we now must say goodbye to two other Northern legends; Coronation Street's Vera Duckworth, Liz Dawn, and Til Death Us Do Part star Tony Booth
Leeds born Liz Dawn became a household name and a cultural icon thanks to more than thirty years on the Manchester cobbles. Like Bobby Knutt, her career started out on the club circuit where she performed as a singer. In the late '60s she began to pick up acting work, most notably in Colin Welland's Play for Today Leeds United! as well as several of Alan Bennett's TV plays for that strand also. She arrived in Coronation Street as a semi-regular in 1974, before becoming full time when Tarmey arrived as her husband Jack in 1979. Together they became two of the soap's biggest legends and equally one of the countries best loved and most entertaining couples.
Dawn left the soap at her own request in 2008 when her health began to deteriorate. As a former heavy smoker, as well as her time performing in smoky working men's clubs, had led to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and she spent her time after leaving the show campaigning to raise awareness and funds for the British Lung Foundation. She was also a regular campaigner for the Labour Party. Dawn returned to Coronation Street in 2010 as Vera's ghost in Tarmey's final episode of the soap, before making one last TV appearance in a Christmas episode of rival soap Emmerdale in 2015. She died peacefully surrounded by her family at the age of 77.
The irrepressible Tony Booth brilliantly brought to life the 'scouse git' son-in-law of Alf Garnett in classic TV sitcom Til Death Us Do Part, a role not a million miles from his own personality, certainly in terms of his left wing politics and his unabashed vocal attitude towards them. A Labour member and activist all his life, Booth became a thorn in the side of his own son-in-law, Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair (the war criminal) accusing his government of throwing away billions on the war in Iraq rather than looking after pensioners or paying public sector workers a fair wage. He also criticised his daughter Cherie and Blair's decision to send their eldest son to a private school. He was also very active for pro-Palestinian causes.
Married four times, including a marriage in the 1980s to Coronation Street's Pat Phoenix whom he first met as a young man in the '60s and who he declared to be the love of his life as he nursed her through a terminal illness, Booth had eight children and a career that stretched back to the '60s with notable appearances in the Confessions movies, the John Wayne film Brannigan, Jimmy McGovern's Priest and appearances in all three major soaps; Coronation Street, Emmerdale and EastEnders. He had been suffering from Alzheimers as well as chronic heart disease and pulmonary disease for some years and was 85.