Coronation Street and The Crown legend James Laurenson has died aged 84 after a 50-year career.

He first appeared in the long-running Manchester-based soap in 1968 as the Reverend Peter Hope.

More recently he played Scottish physician and homeopath Doctor Sir John Weir in the hit Netflix series The Crown.

Laurenson also famously performed the first gay kiss with Sir Ian McKellen in an adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II in 1970,  just three years after homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK.

Coronation Street and the Crown star James Laurenson has died aged 84

Coronation Street and the Crown star James Laurenson has died aged 84

Laurenson as Richard Crossdyke in The Cry alongside Sarah Lancashire

Laurenson as Richard Crossdyke in The Cry alongside Sarah Lancashire

He appeared as Scottish physician and homeopath Doctor Weir in Netflix series The Crown

He appeared as Scottish physician and homeopath Doctor Weir in Netflix series The Crown

He famously performed the first gay kiss with Ian McKellen on Edward II in 1970 - just three years after homosexuality was decriminalised

He famously performed the first gay kiss with Ian McKellen on Edward II in 1970 – just three years after homosexuality was decriminalised

Laurenson in play After The Fall at the National Theatre, London in 1990

Laurenson in play After The Fall at the National Theatre, London in 1990

He is survived by second wife Cari Haysom and his son Jamie, from his previous marriage to actress Carol Macready.

Born in New Zealand, Laurenson studied at what was then Canterbury University College in Christchurch before moving to the UK.

His film debut was a supporting role in Women in Love in 1969. He went on to appear in numerous Shakespearean productions including Richard II and Hamlet.

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He also played the lead role in the West End production 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1984 – his only performance in a musical.

Laurenson starred in All for Love at the Almeida Theatre in London opposite Diana Rigg

Laurenson starred in All for Love at the Almeida Theatre in London opposite Diana Rigg

The Olivier award nominated actor first appeared in Coronation Street in 1968

The Olivier award nominated actor first appeared in Coronation Street in 1968

James Laurenson as Harry McDonald in TV programme Crown Court

James Laurenson as Harry McDonald in TV programme Crown Court

Among his other credits are Midsomer Murders, Bergerac, Lovejoy, Taggart and Prime Suspect.

He starred in the BBC version of Henry IV in The Hollow Crown as the Earl of Westmoreland.

The actor moved to Frome, Somerset in the 1990s where he enjoyed time ‘away from the spotlight’ walking his dog Maisie.

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