For three decades Johnny Briggs entertained tens of millions as Coronation Street's unforgettable factory boss Mike Baldwin.

Now after the death of the soap legend at the age of 85, we look back at the extraordinary life of the much-loved star.

From his childhood as a war evacuee to his incredible success on the cobbles, to wild claims he had bedded a thousand women, the straight-talking actor was a firm favourite of fans.

Born in London's Battersea in 1935, as a boy Johnny was evacuated to the countryside during World War II.

Author Alan Ravenscroft later recalled of that time: "Johnny used to come to our school for woodwork lessons. He had a cockney accent but soon got into Winsford ways and found out what a jam butty was."

After returning to London Johnny embarked on a career in show business back aged 12, attending famed stage school Italia Conti Academy.

Johnny Briggs' extraordinary life saw him awarded an MBE in 2007 by the Queen
Johnny Briggs' extraordinary life saw him awarded an MBE in 2007 by the Queen

He served in Germany for two years with the Royal Tank Regiment before launching his acting career with roles in several Carry On movies and ITV police drama No Hiding Place.

But it was only in 1976 that he would land the role which would define his career, and make him a household name.

As womanising factory owner Mike, Johnny helped pull in 21 million viewers in the 1980s when his character had an affair with Deirdre Barlow, played by Anne Kirkbride.

In 2012 the twice married actor admitted the womanising wasn't just an onscreen trait.

The love triangle between Corrie's Mike Baldwin, Deirdre Barlow and Ken Barlow was a rating winner
The love triangle between Corrie's Mike Baldwin, Deirdre Barlow and Ken Barlow was a rating winner

In an interview with the Mirror the twice divorced father-of-six responded to Corrie co-star's Bill Roache's claims he had slept with 1,000 women, joking his figure was even higher.

Johnny said: “What goes on in the bedroom stays in the bedroom. I was a bit of a ladies’ man myself.

"I don’t know if I can say how many I’ve bedded, but it’s probably more than him.”

The two played onscreen rivals, with Bill's character Ken Barlow Deirdre's onscreen husband.

The love triangle between the three gripped viewers and was a long-running ratings winner as it rumbled on for years.

Johnny Briggs is seen posing for a picture after leaving Corrie in 2006

Having joined the soap in 1976, Johnny finally retired with the death of his popular character in 2006.

The onscreen death saw Mike collapse in the street after a heart attack following a battle with Alzheimer's disease, dying in the arms of Ken.

The year after his retirement, Ken was made an MBE, collecting his medal at Buckingham Palace from the Queen.

A straight-talker, even after he left the show Johnny wasn't afraid to share his views on Corrie plotlines.

In 2012 he slammed the show's direction.

Johnny said the decision to bring in a cast of new, younger characters had made the programme unwatchable.

The love triangle rumbled on for years
The love triangle rumbled on for years

He complained: “There’s no laughter or humour. People were once happy in the soap. There is no one in it I recognise now.

“The writers have lost their way by bringing in all these unknowns and trying to make it interesting by introducing different characters.

“It’s so sad to learn the ratings have gone down. It’s heartbreaking."

He made one final appearance on the cobbles, returning as a ghost in a 2012 Corrie sketch to raise money for Text Santa.

While Johnny will always be best known for Corrie, he also appeared in a number of other iconic TV shows including Crossroads, The Saint, The Persuaders, No Hiding Place and Thick As Thieves.

In a statement on Sunday his family said he died surrounded by loved ones after a long illness.

They said they would: "Quietly grieve as a family and remember the wonderful times we had with him."

Tributes also flooded in from his colleagues, with Antony Cotton, knicker-stitcher Sean Tully in Weatherfield, tweeting: "Johnny Briggs was a complex character, on and off screen, and we all adored him.

"Feel lucky that I got the chance to work with him in the factory. I am, and will always be, a Baldwin's Casual.

"Night night Mr Baldwin, I've left you a bottle of Scotch in the filing cabinet..."

Fans are sure to feel the same way, giving Johnny a quiet thank you for the many decades of welcome entertainment he gave them.