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08 September 2020 10:37

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Wigan-born actor Rodney Litchfield, who played Old Tommy in the sitcom Early Doors, has died. The news was confirmed by Phil Mealey, the actor and writer who co-created Early Doors with Craig Cash. Mealey said that Litchfield "passed away peacefully in his sleep" on Saturday. Having been in Coronation Street as Wilf Morton, Litchfield is best known for playing the anti-social and miserly drinker in the pub in Early Doors, The Grapes. The actor had also played roles in Shameless, Brookside, A Touch of Frost, Heartbeat, Emmerdale, and Phoenix Nights.

RIPx," said Mealey's message. Early Doors was co-written by Mealey and Cash, both of whom appeared in the series as Duffy and Joe. It was produced in 2003 and 2004, and ran to 12 episodes in total. Paddy McGuinness leads tributes to Rodney Litchfield Paddy McGuinness has led tributes to 'Early Doors' and 'Phoenix Nights' actor Rodney Litchfield, who has passed away "peacefully" aged 81 Paddy McGuinness has led tributes to Rodney Litchfield, who has died aged 81. The 'Early Doors' actor – who played pessimistic pensioner Old Tommy in the BBC sitcom – passed away "peacefully" in his sleep on Saturday (05.09.20) after being "poorly for some time", according to the show's co-writer Phil Mealey. He wrote on Twitter: "Really sad news that Rodney Lichfield aka Old Tommy passed away peacefully in his sleep Saturday aged 81, having been poorly for some time.

Paddy wrote: "RIP Rodney Lichfield aka Wild Bill in Phoenix Nights. Mark Benton – who played Eddie Bell in 'Early Doors' – wrote: "RIP Rodney. Christine Bottomley – who played Melanie Dixon – posted: "Sorry to here one of our Earlydoors family has left the building x will watch me some outtakes tonight I think and remember our dear friend #RodneyLitchfield #OldTommy will miss you mate x (sic)" Rodney also starred in 'Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights', alongside Rodney was also no stranger to soaps, appearing in 'Coronation Street' as Wilfred Morton, the grandfather of Jodie Morton, who was portrayed by Samantha Seager. Former Coronation Street and Early Doors star Rodney Litchfield has died at the age of 81. The Wigan-born actor, also known for his appearances in Emmerdale and Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights passed away in his sleep at the weekend.

Phil Mealey, who co-wrote Early Doors with Craig Cash, revealed the news on Twitter, writing: "Really sad news that Rodney Lichfield aka Old Tommy passed away peacefully in his sleep Saturday aged 81, having been poorly for some time. Really sad news that Rodney Lichfield aka Old Tommy passed away peacefully in his sleep Saturday aged 81, having been poorly for some time. RIPx — Phil Mealey (@PhilMealey) September 7, 2020 "We were blessed to meet and cast him as he was absolutely perfect. Litchfield played ill-tempered pensioner Tommy in the BBC sitcom, and also appeared in Coronation Street in 2007 as scamming grandad Wilf Morton. View photos 'Grandad Morton' (played by Rodney Litchfield) is introduced to Coronation Street as part of the 'Morton Family' during a photocall at Granada Studios in Manchester.

Actress Christine Bottomley, who starred in comedy Early Doors with Litchfield, tweeted in tribute: "Sorry to here one of our Earlydoors family has left the building x will watch me some outtakes tonight I think and remember our dear friend #RodneyLitchfield #OldTommy will miss you mate x [sic]" Sorry to here one of our Earlydoors family has left the building x will watch me some outtakes tonight I think and remember our dear friend #RodneyLitchfield #OldTommy will miss you mate x ❤️ pic.twitter.com/liIezRwQds — Christine Bottomley (@ChrissyBotto) September 7, 2020 And comedian Justin Moorhouse, who worked with Litchfield on Channel 4 sitcom Phoenix Nights, wrote: "Rest in Peace Rodney. He was also magnificent as Wild Bill in Phoenix Nights. He's digging for gold!' pic.twitter.com/poFl8Dz40l — Justin Moorhouse (@justinmoorhouse) September 7, 2020 Litchfield first broke into acting in the 1980s and had roles in acclaimed British acclaimed British TV shows including Cracker, Heartbeat, A Touch Of Frost, Casualty, The Bill and Doctors. Read more: Peter Kay is planning a 'Phoenix Nights' film Early Doors, written by Mealey and Cash, ran on BBC Two for two series between 2003 and 2004 telling the daily life of the staff and regulars in Stockport pub The Grapes. Its cast included James McAvoy and Maxine Peake. ACTOR Rodney Litchfield, known for his roles in Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Phoenix Nights, has died aged 81. Rodney, from Wigan, died in his sleep on Saturday after being ill "for some time." 5 Rodney Litchfield has died aged 81 Credit: BBC 5 Rodney, centre, featured on Coronation Street Credit: Rex Features The actor's career spanned more than 30 years, with credits in Heartbeat, Coronation Street, A Touch of Frost, Shameless and Emmerdale. However, Rodney was perhaps best known for playing the miserable pensioner Tommy in the BBC sitcom Early Doors. Phil Mealey, the show's writer, tweeted: "Really sad news that Rodney Litchfield aka Old Tommy passed away peacefully in his sleep Saturday aged 81, having been poorly for some time. "We were blessed to meet and cast him as he was absolutely perfect. Rodney also played Wilfred Morton on Coronation Street, the granddad of Jodie, played by Samantha Seager. 5 Rodney as grandad Wilfred Morton on the popular soap Credit: Rex Features As well as drama, Rodney has dabbled in comedy with an appearance alongside Peter Kay in his much-loved Phoenix Nights and three-part comedy Sunshine, created by the team behind The Royle Family. Later in the early noughties he had a few appearances in Channel 4 comedy/drama Shameless, playing a magistrate in a 2005 episode before returning four years later as a character called Algie. Many of Rodney's TV credits were one off appearances in much-loved shows from medical dramas Casualty and Doctors to police shows Heartbeat and The Bill. Fans of Rodney's work have taken to social media to mourn the actor. Andrew Wallis wrote: "RIP Rodney- perfect as Tommy, hopefully someone will get him a packet of cheese and onion crisps and avoid him getting in a round 'To The Regiment!'" Another user said: "Sad news that Rodney Litchfield, Old Tommy from Early Doors has passed away. 5 'Tommy' played by Rodney, far left, on TV sitcom Early Doors Credit: Ovation Productions Most read in Showbiz TO CATCH A CHEAT Furious wife beats and strips her husband's suspected mistress in the street - but crowd does nothing OLD HABITS... "He was truly brilliant in the Early Doors. 5 Rodney, left, on the set of Coronation Street Credit: Rex Features