TRIBUTES have been paid to comedian, actor and former Clacton Butlin’s redcoat Roy Hudd, who has died at the age of 83.

Mr Hudd, born in Croydon in south London, was also patron of Clacton’s West Cliff Theatre and starred in the venue’s a spectacular 125 Show last year to mark its 125th anniversary.

Mr Hudd made his professional debut as a comedian in 1957 at the Streatham Hill Theatre and joined the Redcoats at Clacton’s Butlin’s the following year, working alongside Sir Cliff Richard and Dave Allen.

Clacton historian and West Cliff Theatre trust chairman Norman Jacobs paid tribute to the entertainer, who credited Clacton for giving him his big break in showbiz.

He said: “I was greatly saddened to hear of the news of Roy’s passing.

“I had got to know Roy very well over the last 25 years and could count him as a good friend.

“He supported both the Clacton Local History Society and the West Cliff Theatre, of which he was a patron, and spent a lot of his time helping both in various ways without ever asking for any monetary reward.

“He always said he was happy to help Clacton in any way he could as he credited Clacton with giving him his start in his professional life.

“His first major engagement was as a redcoat at Butlin’s in 1958 and he then went on to appear for two seasons as star of the Ocean Revue at the Ocean Theatre on the pier and it was from here that his career took off.

“He was such a nice man, such a great star and such a big loss.”

Mr Hudd made his name after he began his TV career in 1964 with the series That Was The Week That Was in an era that was dubbed the “satire boom”.

He was perhaps best known for the long-running programme The News Huddlines, which ran for 26 years from 1975 to 2001.

After the programme stopped being broadcast, he went on to perform roles in a variety of hit TV dramas including Call The Midwife, Midsomer Murders, Ashes To Ashes and Broadchurch.

He also starred in a number of soaps, playing undertaker Archie Shuttleworth in Coronation Street, as well as appearing in Holby City and Casualty.

Mr Hudd, who has a son, Max, from his first marriage, lived with his second wife, Debbie Flitcroft, in south London.

He wrote several books on music hall, re-recorded and restored old music hall records, and appeared in a revival show called The Good Old Days.

He was the longstanding president of the British Music Hall Society, and chose the genre as his specialist subject when he appeared on Celebrity Mastermind in 2014.

A statement from his agent said: “We are sad to announce the passing of the much-loved and amazingly talented Roy Hudd.

“After a short illness, Roy passed away peacefully on the afternoon of Sunday, March, 15, with his wife Debbie at his side.

“The family would ask you to respect their privacy at this very sad time.”