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John Savident (born 21 January 1938) is a British actor, known for his numerous television roles, including his portrayal of Fred Elliott in the soap opera Coronation Street from 1994 until 2006. He is also known for his performance as Monsieur Firmin in the West End debut of The Phantom of the Opera.
Savident was born in Guernsey and still lived there at the time of the German occupation of the island in 1940. He and his family escaped to England in a fishing boat. During his early years, he was a police officer before turning to acting as his profession.
"Phantom of the Opera"
Savident created the role of Monsieur Firmin in the original production of 'Phantom of the Opera' which opened on 9 October 1986 at Her Majesty's Theatre, Haymarket, London SW.
Despite his many film and TV roles, (including civil servant Sir Frederick Stewart in Yes, Minister and in A Clockwork Orange), it was only during the 1990s when he joined the cast of Coronation Street as the bellicose but romantic butcher Fred Elliott that he became a household name. He made his first appearance on the show in 1994 and his character quickly became popular with viewers.
On 1 December 2000, Savident was stabbed in the neck by Michael Smith who claimed he was acting in self-defence. Savident said at the time "I suddenly felt somebody come up behind me and whizz me round so I was face down on the bed and then I felt a prick on my throat". Savident had met Smith in a gay bar. They then went to Savident's home apparently to discuss the theatre which Smith claimed was a euphemism for sex. The next week on Coronation Street the large sticking plaster on his character's neck was explained as a "butchering accident"..
In December 2005, Savident announced that he was to leave Coronation Street citing (undisclosed) "personal reasons". His character died of a stroke nine months later, in October 2006. He later revealed that he had retired from the show "because he wanted to spend more time with his family in Hertfordshire".
Since leaving, he has been critical of the way the series is produced in a number of articles and television interviews, claiming that the programme is amongst other things "on too frequently" and "badly lit". He has also said he disagrees with the programme hiring well-known actors, as it takes jobs away from struggling, unknown actors.
After Coronation Street
He was one of the readers on the BBC's online Advent Calendar in December 2006 and starred in the 2006 pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as the henchman at Manchester Opera House, appearing alongside Suranne Jones, Justin Moorhouse, and the all-star seven dwarves including Warwick Davis.
In 2007, he was touring as the lead in a production of Hobson's Choice.
He appeared on Loose Women on 19 March 2009 to discuss his part as Sir Joseph Porter in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta HMS Pinafore, which toured the United Kingdom during the spring and summer of 2009.
- Robbery (1967) – Policeman with Dog (uncredited)
- The White Bus (1967) – Supporter
- Inadmissible Evidence (1968) – Mr. Watson
- Otley (1969) – Businessman
- Before Winter Comes (1969) – British Corporal
- Battle of Britain (1969) – RAF Officer (uncredited)
- Waterloo (1970) – Muffling
- The Raging Moon (1971) – Fete Guest
- A Clockwork Orange (1971) – Conspirator Dolin
- Penny Gold (1973) – Sir Robert Hampton
- Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973) – Hewel
- Diamonds on Wheels (1974) – Steward
- Butley (1974) – James (uncredited)
- QB VII (1974) – Anaesthetist
- Galileo (1974) – Second Senator
- Looking For Clancy (1975) – Sir John Kernan
- Trial by Combat (1976) – Oilver Griggs – Police Commissioner
- Rachel and the Beelzebub Bombardiers (1977) – Captain Verney, MP
- Blake's 7 (1981) – Egrorian
- Doctor Who The Visitation (1982) – The Squire
- Gandhi (1982) – Manager of the Mine
- Oliver Twist (1982) – Mr. Fang
- The Wicked Lady (1983) – Squire Thornton
- The Bill (1984) ("It's Not Such a Bad Job After All") – Video shop owner
- Little Dorrit (1987) – Tite Barnacle
- A Summer Story (1988) – A Banc Clerk
- Camping (1990) – English camper
- Mountains of the Moon (1990) – Lord Murchison
- Impromptu (1991) – Buloz
- Hudson Hawk (1991) – Auctioneer
- Brain Donors (1992) – Edmund Lazlo
- The Remains of the Day (1993) – Doctor Meredith
- Tom & Viv (1994) – Sir Frederick Lamb
- Middlemarch_(TV_serial) (1994) – Raffles
- Othello (1995) – 2nd Senator
- Loch Ness (1996) – Dr. Binns
- The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall (2011) – Mounsieur Firmin
- ’The Life and Times of Mim Stewart” (2019) - Gary Brennan