Corrie and Emmerdale star maker David Johnson dies as ITV stars pay tribute

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Coronation Street and Emmerdale stars have paid tribute to "starmaker" David Johnson following the news of his tragic death.

He helped kickstart the careers of a host of award-winning actors from the Manchester area.

Mr Johnson founded Oldham Theatre Workshop aged 15 back in 1968 and it quickly became Europe's biggest youth theatre company.

He set up the organisation aged 15 and offered free programmes for local youngsters.

Several soap stars learned under his leadership including Suranne Jones, Michael Le Vell, Lisa Riley and the late Anne Kirkbride.

Some famous faces have taken to social media to pay tribute to David.

Antony Cotton, who plays Sean Tully in the ITV soap penned: "Just heard the saddest news. David Johnson who was the director of the phenomena that was Oldham Theatre Workshop, has died.

"He put so many of us on the map, and kick started so many careers, both on stage and off.

"So many of us owe him so much. I’m absolutely gutted. He formed my childhood so profoundly, and in turn – my adult life too. Those years were the best years of my life. Rest in Power David. You were the best x."

He later shared a picture of David and wrote alongside: "This is David Johnson. He formed my childhood so profoundly, and in turn – my adult life too.

"Those years were the best years of my life. Rest in Power David. You were the best x

Samia Longchambon, who plays Maria Connor in Corrie, added: "Amen. Such sad news, The end of an era. He really was the best xxx"

Ex-Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher added: ""Singlehandedly the biggest influence on my career and arguably, the reason behind my career. I know I speak for so many. Thank you David Johnson. What a legacy."

David, from Saddleworth, later founded David Johnson Theatre and was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year's Honours list for 2019 for his work.

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Speaking to the Manchester Evening News back in 2015, David said: "I have been so fortunate. When you work with people like that you realise what amazing, talented people they are.

"Nearly all the people I have worked with have gone on to appear in TV and film. We have got such wonderful, wonderful talent in this area and they have been so lovely with me."

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  • Coronation Street
  • Emmerdale

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