Frederick Handel "Fred" Elliott was a local businessman, butcher and publican.
Identifiable by his large stature, bald head, his booming voice and his tendency to repeat himself, Fred was landlord of the Rovers Return Inn for five years until 2006 but his true passions were butchery and women. In addition to his three marriages, Fred proposed to many other women, including Kathleen Gutteridge, Doreen Heavey, Rita Sullivan, and Audrey Roberts, of whom he was especially fond.
Fred's relationship with Kathleen started after he became a widower in 1975. Following the birth of their son Ashley, Kathleen rejected the baby and Fred handed him over to his sister and brother-in-law Beryl and Sam Peacock to raise as their own. Ashley was close to "uncle Fred" as he grew up, working for him at his butcher shop in Nelson Street, and was finally told the truth in 1999. This strengthened their bond and Fred eventually renamed the shop Elliott & Son.
Fred longed to be married again and in 1997 Maureen Holdsworth became his wife. However, Maureen found his constant attention suffocating and ran away to Germany with Bill Webster less than two weeks after the wedding. In 2000, after transferring the butcher shop to 14 Victoria Street he formed a partnership with Mike Baldwin and Duggie Ferguson to buy the Rovers. Three months later, Duggie tricked his partners into selling their shares to him through a third party, but Fred got another shot at the pub when he bought it at auction as a present for his new bride Evelyn. This relationship also ended badly for Fred, as within months he discovered that Evelyn was a bigamist and threw her out.
Fred remained the pub's owner, appointing a succession of managers until 2006 when he decided to sell up and marry Bev Unwin. On his wedding day, Fred went to seek Audrey's blessing for the union, and it was at her home that he suffered a massive stroke and died without making it to the altar.
Born in 1938, Fred was a Master Butcher, his shop being situated on Nelson Street, and first appeared in the Street as part of the Weatherfield delegation to their French twin town. At a black pudding contest, Fred tried to bribe the French judges, and nearly caused a diplomatic incident.
Now firmly established, he was Grand Master of the Weatherfield Square Dealers, senior partner in the Street racehorse, Betty's Hot Shot, chasing Rita Sullivan, and famed for his repetitive speech.
In May 1999, after gossiping a bit too much to Audrey Roberts, Fred was forced to admit that Ashley was his secret son. After Fred's first wife Sybil had died in 1975, Fred became romantically involved with Kathleen Gutteridge, a young worker in Elliott's shop in Nelson Street. Kathleen became pregnant, but scoffed at the idea when Fred proposed marriage - she was too young and wanted to see the world. It was agreed that Kathleen would leave the baby boy with Fred's childless sister, Beryl Peacock and her husband Sam. They brought up Ashley as their own son, never telling him of his true parentage.
Ashley found out that Fred was his dad and they forged a close bond, even moving in together at 4 Coronation Street which Fred bought from Mavis Wilton after the death of her husband Derek. Ashley and his wife Maxine lived there until Maxine died and then Claire Casey the nanny moved in, eventually marrying Ashley and completing the family with the birth of Freddie, a new grandson in July 2006.
In 2004 Fred fell out with Mike Baldwin when Mike pursued a relationship with his girlfriend Penny King behind his back. While Mike felt guilty and tried to reconcile Fred didn't want to hear any of his apologies. The two only made up late into the year when Mike exploited the no limit rule to win the butcher's in a game of poker but let Fred keep it anyway as he wanted them to be mates again.
Fred was scammed by a woman named Stacy Hilton who pretended to be an immigrant called Orchid, looking for a "mail order" husband. She was after his money - working with Dennis Stokes, an acquaintance of Fred's. Ashley discovered her working on Levenshulme Market and Fred's heart was again broken. A year or so later, Fred discovered Orchid beaten and being admitted to hospital. He almost took her back in but in the end sent her on her way.
Always a serial proposer, having been turned down by Rita Sullivan, Audrey Roberts and Doreen Heavey, he made friends with Shelley Unwin's mother, Bev. They started to develop a closeness that they both shied away from, having been burned by members of the opposite sex in relationships but soon came to care deeply for each other. This time, Fred's proposal was accepted. They decided to move away from Weatherfield and Fred accepted an offer for the pub from Steve McDonald. The wedding was all set to go. However, his old friend Audrey was having doubts and spilled her heart out to Fred. She regretted saying no to him all those years ago! This caused Fred a lot of anxiety but on his wedding day, he rushed from the church to see Audrey and told her gently that he was marrying Bev, whom he loved. On the way out of her house, he collapsed and died after suffering a massive stroke leaving his family, friends, and fiancée, Bev, devastated.
In 2009 Ashley's apprentice at the butcher's shop Graeme Proctor began to display similar speech patterns and sayings by Fred, despite having never known or met him. This caused Ashley to suspect that Graeme may actually be possessed by his late father, and thought brought a bit of comfort to him. It later transpired that Claire had told Graeme stories about Fred, and the young man decided to mimic him as a prank. Although Ashley was slightly amused by the prank, he requested Graeme to stop speaking like his father as she still deeply missed him, which an apologetic Graeme obliged.
Hobbies and interests
Fred was introduced on a recurring basis, before returning full-time in 1996.
Fred was originally scheduled to have a small part in the live 40th anniversary episode broadcast on 8th December 2000, but the character was written out when actor John Savident was advised by doctors not to appear, as he was recovering from neck wounds sustained in a knife attack. Fred's lines were given to other characters.
In 2005, it was announced that Savident planned to quit after eleven years, wanting to spend time with his family. Fred was killed off in October 2006; the character made a final, posthumous appearance in the episode following his death in an open casket.
First and last lines
"Do you like a nice blood sausage?" (First line, to Ken Barlow)
"Be happy, I say. Be happy." (Final line, to Audrey Roberts)