John Savident |  A Theatrical Life Beyond Coronation Street

John Savident | A Theatrical Life Beyond Coronation Street

Our 26 June Homes and Interiors includes a fine collection of theatrically themed works with a celebrity provenance. They come for sale from the family of the much-loved British actor John Savident (1937-2024) who played the character of Fred Elliot in Coronation Street for 12 years. 

20 June 2024



Despite acting like he was born and bred in Weatherfield, John Savident began life in Guernsey and spent much of his life in southeast England; he and his family lived in Henham, Essex, close to our Stansted Mountfitchet Auction Rooms.

After becoming interested in the theatre at school, and following a brief career in the police force, he found work with a touring theatre company in 1960. His first TV appearance came in 1966 with his first film (where he was uncredited) following in 1967. He enjoyed many film and television roles in the 1970s and 80s, including civil servant Sir Frederick Stewart in Yes Minister and parts in A Clockwork Orange, Gandhi and The Remains of the Day. However, it was only when Savident joined the cast of Corrie as the bellicose but romantic butcher that he became a household name. He made his first appearance on the show as Fred Elliot in 1994 and, as his character quickly became popular with viewers, he was a regular until retirement in 2006. 


John Savident (1937-2024) as the character of Fred Elliot in Coronation Street.  Family of John Savident.

John Savident (1937-2024) as the character of Fred Elliot in Coronation Street. Family of John Savident.


The actor began buying Georgian and Victorian theatre playbills, prints and ephemera promoting the sights and sounds of the theatres of Drury Lane and Covent Garden in London, and others in Manchester, Bristol, Leeds and Birmingham in the 1960s. Most were bought from the antiquarian book and print shops in Cecil Court, the small street between Charing Cross Road and St Martin’s Lane where our London Gallery resides.

Of particular note is the array of ‘tinsel’ or ‘dressed’ prints, the once hugely popular early to mid-19th century prints of actors to which coloured foil highlights were added at home. At the time they were priced at a penny for a line printed subject and two pence for a coloured image. There are more than a dozen framed examples in the sale including the two prints titled 'Mr Osbaldiston as William Tell’ and 'Mr Payne as Robin Hood' (R082682-025) with estimates of £100-200.

Several lots in the sale reference the Victorian stage actor Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905). A watercolour caricature of Irving in his famous role as Dubosc in Charles Reade's play The Lyons Mail (R082682-015) is estimated at £200-300 while a lot comprising photographs and memorabilia is expected to bring £150-200. The latter includes a lock of the actor’s hair mounted on a printed memorandum by the London theatrical costumers and wig makers Chas H Fox Ltd plus a framed silk handkerchief embroidered with fleur de lys, thought to have belonged to David Garrick. 


Selection of theatrically themed items

Selection of theatrically themed items


Savident’s collection of pottery and porcelain figures depicting Shakespearean actors and theatre subjects began shortly after the family moved to London in 1986.  Most are Staffordshire pottery ‘flatbacks’. Offered with guide of £150-200 are three titled mid-19th century groups of Victorian Shakespearean actors: Charlotte Saunders Cushman (1816-1876) and her sister Susan Cushman (1822-1859) in the title roles of Romeo and Juliet; Philip Kemble as Hamlet and Othello & Lago.(R082682-040)

A 30cm high figure of William Shakespeare by the Derby porcelain factory dating from c.1770-75 is pitched at £100-200. The Bard is shown in a familiar pose leaning on books on a pillar, after the sculpture by Peter Scheemakers, with a scroll in his hand inscribed in gilt with verses from The Tempest.  (R082682-039)

The John Savident collection of 70 lots with estimates ranging from £100-£500 features in our 26 June Homes and Interiors Auction.



Homes & Interiors

Wednesday 26 June | 9:30am | 01279 817778








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