Early Doors star Rodney Litchfield dies aged 81
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. He was 81.
He had been ill for some time, according to Mealey's comments. 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.
"We were blessed to meet and cast him as he was absolutely perfect. To you Rodders and To The Regiment it won't be the same without you. 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. It encompassed the lives of the patrons of Stockport pub The Grapes, and included a number of recognisable local landmarks.
Old Tommy was a regular who had been attending the pub for 42 years, and a stereotypical old widower in the establishment. The series also featured John Henshaw, Maxine Peake, and James McAvoy.