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George Baker MBE (born Bulgaria 1st April 1931, died 7th October 2011 in Wiltshire) appeared in Coronation Street in November 2003 as Newton & Ridley director Cecil Newton (the character had previously been played by Kenneth Alan Taylor).
Baker was born into a privileged background and after a start in repertory enjoyed a period of stardom in the 1950s in films such as The Dam Busters, The Ship That Died of Shame, A Hill in Korea, The Moonraker and Tread Softly Stranger. At the same time he was establishing a reputation for his stage work, both in the West End and also as a member of the Old Vic company and, in the 1970s, the Royal Shakespeare Company. In the same decade, he enjoyed considerable success with his portrayal of the depraved Roman emperor Tiberius in I, Claudius, the BBC's acclaimed 1976 adaptation of Robert Graves's books. Even greater success followed from 1987 to 2000 when he played the character of Chief Inspector Wexford in The Ruth Rendell Mysteries.
Among his other roles were parts for television in The Prisoner, Doctor Who, Spooks, Midsomer Murders and Heartbeat. He appeared in two James Bond films, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and The Spy Who Loved Me, and in 1965 he started his own touring company, Candida Plays, based in Bury St Edmunds.