Actor Bill Tarmey is best known as Jack Duckworth, one of the UK's best-loved soap characters. Bill grew up in post-war Manchester, began a career in the building trade, but a love of singing drew him to the entertainment business. By the late 1960s he was established on the northern Working Men's Club circuit and also doing part-time work as a TV 'extra'. He was spotted as one of the crowd in the Rover's Return pub on the set of Coronation Street and soon offered the role of Jack to on-screen wife Vera, which he has played for 31 years. He retires from the show in December 2010.