Bill Waddington

William Joseph Waddington (10 June 1916 – 9 September 2000) was an English actor, comedian and co-author who was born in Oldham, Lancashire. In later life he achieved stardom as the pompous ex-serviceman Percy Sugden in Granada Television's long-running soap opera Coronation Street.

Bill Waddington
Waddington as Percy Sugden in
Coronation Street
William Joseph Waddington

(1916-06-10)10 June 1916
Oldham, Lancashire, England
Died9 September 2000(2000-09-09) (aged 84)
Years activec.late 1930s–1997
Spouse(s)Evelyn Gladys Case (1940–1947; divorced)
Lilian Hobdey (1947–1980; her death) (2 children)
Irene Beaumont (1982–??; divorced)
Sheila Torr (1995–2000; his death)


Waddington played the ukulele and became a member of a group called the Blue Pencils, recruited to entertain forces during the Second World War.

After the war "Waddy" became a comedian, often appearing on the same bill as Jill Summers, who would eventually play Phyllis Pearce, Percy Sugden's foil in Granada TV's Coronation Street. In 1955 Bill was chosen for the Royal Variety Performance, and when American stars such as Frankie Laine, Lena Horne, Billy Daniels and Dorothy Lamour toured Britain he was the opening comedian in their shows. His agent was Lew Grade.

Waddington appeared in more than 800 variety and comedy programmes on radio, and made his mark on television, starring with Margaret Lockwood as early as 1946. In the 1970s he enjoyed a stage partnership with Sid James, only ended by James's death in 1976.

He appeared as a magician in Victoria Wood's first play Talent for Granada Television in 1979.

Bill played his best known role of cantankerous pensioner Percy Sugden on Coronation Street from August 1983 until quitting the serial in October 1997. He had previously appeared in a single episode in June 1978 as Eric Summers and later played the minor role of Arnold Swain's best man George Turner in three episodes of the series during 1980.

He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1986 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at London's Euston Station.[1]


In 1995, he released a cover of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" along with the rest of the Coronation Street cast, the single reaching No. 35 on the UK Singles Chart. He had previously released his own single "Don't Forget The Old Folks at Christmas" in 1986 but this failed to chart.

Personal life and deathEdit

In later life Bill Waddington had a relationship with a much younger woman and died at Rotherham General Hospital on the morning of 9 September 2000 at the age of 84 after a fifty-year acting career. He had been suffering from Parkinson's disease and had two daughters. He is buried at St. Peter's graveyard at Bradfield Green, near Crewe.

TV creditsEdit


  • The Importance of Being Percy by Bill Waddington and Stafford Hildred. (ISBN 1852831928), an autobiography written in 1992.
  • Percy's War by Stafford Hildred. (ISBN 189892600X), the D-Day memories of Coronation Street's Bill Waddington published in 1994.


  1. ^ "Bill Waddington". Retrieved 11 November 2020.

External linksEdit