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Obituary: Neville Buswell

Actor who made his name as former Borstal boy and self-styled ladies' man Ray Langton in 'Coronation Street'


Corrie Role: Neville Buswell. Photo: PA

Corrie Role: Neville Buswell. Photo: PA


Corrie Role: Neville Buswell. Photo: PA

Neville Buswell, who has died aged 76, became a regular member of the cast of Coronation Street in the 1970s when, as the Jack-the-Lad chancer Ray Langton, he married Deirdre Hunt (Anne Kirkbride).

The hurriedly arranged ceremony at Weatherfield's register office in July 1975 may have been low-key - the bride wore a plain fawn suit she used for work - but it was the television wedding of the year, watched by millions.

As Ray Langton, Buswell spent 10 years as one of the show's bad boys, making his debut in 1966 as a former juvenile delinquent before returning full-time two years later as a plumber, petty thief and self-styled ladies' man. When he made a play for the street's resident siren Elsie Tanner (Pat Phoenix), he was swiftly rebuffed.

His lengthy list of girlfriends included his boss's secretary Audrey Fleming (Gillian McCann) and Tricia Hopkins (Kathy Jones), who persuaded her family to rent the corner shop in order to be near him. There was also Janice Stubbs (Angela Bruce), a waitress at the cafe in Rosamund Street, whose affair with Ray would later wreck his marriage.

When Ray made his move on Deirdre, her decision to marry him caused her mother to question her sanity. In 1977 the couple moved into No 5 with their daughter Tracy, but their marriage ended a year later when Buswell suddenly announced he was leaving. On screen, Ray decamped to Amsterdam and in 1981 Deirdre married Ken Barlow (William Roache).

Buswell explained his departure from the Street in August 1978 by saying he wanted to try to break into films, but he was also quoted as saying he had struggled "with all that celebrity stuff".

When Buswell returned briefly to Coronation Street in 2005, his character Ray, by then suffering from cancer, attended Ken and Deirdre's wedding but dropped dead during the reception in the Rovers Return.

The son of publicans, Neville Alfred Morris Buswell was born on January 20, 1943, in Prestbury, Cheshire, brought up in the spa town of Buxton in Derbyshire and educated at Belmont Abbey School near Hereford. He appeared in school plays and trained at Rada before joining the Bristol Old Vic company as an assistant stage manager.

After touring in revue, Buswell took minor television roles in popular drama series, including Emergency - Ward 10, in which he was seen by Coronation Street's casting director. In 1966 he appeared as Ray Langton, a Borstal boy who tried to rape Lucille Hewitt (Jennifer Moss).

On his release from prison two years later he joined the full-time cast, becoming a partner in the joinery firm belonging to Len Fairclough (Peter Adamson).

In 1969, following another doomed romantic entanglement, his character was paralysed in a coach crash, but eventually regained the use of his legs, only to be ditched by his fiancee Sandra Butler (Patricia Fuller).

After Buswell left Coronation Street in 1978 he emigrated with his wife to the United States and settled in Las Vegas, where he worked as a croupier for 13 years and later managed a casino.

In 2014 he was the subject of allegations that he had sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl in his dressing room in the 1960s, which he denied.

Police reportedly sought to interview him, but he declined to return to Britain.

Neville Buswell, who died on December 25 last year, married, in 1969, Suzanne Huckle, daughter of the bursar at his old school.

© Telegraph