Roy Barraclough began his career as a draughtsman, taking time off to work as an entertainer in a holiday camp on the Isle of Wight. Combining his day job with local amateur theatre for several years, he was eventually offered a full-time acting contract by repertory theatre producer Nita Valerie with her company in Huddersfield. Barraclough regularly appeared on stage and at times played piano in the pit, including for comedian Hylda Baker.
Barraclough later joined the repertory company at Stoke (appearing alongside Ben Kingsley) and then Oldham in 1966, appearing alongside Barbara Knox and Anne Kirkbride, who later both became colleagues on Coronation Street (1960). Whilst at Oldham he made his first TV appearances for Granada Television, including Coronation Street in 1964.
In 1969, he was cast as Harry Everitt in Yorkshire Television’s first soap opera Castle Haven with Kathy Staff as his on-screen wife. Although the soap only lasted a year, Barraclough became a regular guest actor on YTV shows. It was whilst having lunch in the canteen there that he was asked to stand in for a missing actor on the first series of The Les Dawson Show. It was the start of a working relationship which would last many years both at YTV and the BBC. Barraclough appeared in the Jack Rosenthal sitcom The Lovers (1970) playing a grumpy barman. He played a similar role in the Rising Damp episode (“Pink Carnations”, 1978) and also appeared in ITV’s sitcom George & Mildred (1976).
Throughout the 1970s, he formed a partnership with comedian Les Dawson. They played two grotesque old ladies ‘…of a certain age…’, Dawson playing Ada Shufflebotham, Barraclough playing Cissie Braithwaite, the more ‘refined’ of the two. In 1972 he gained a legion of young fans in the memorable children’s series Pardon My Genie (1972-73) as ironmonger Mr Cobbledick, Hal Adden was played by Ellis Jones.
Barraclough made occasional appearances in Coronation Street in 1972 and 1975, playing the rather sleazy Alec Gilroy, theatrical agent to night club singer Rita Littlewood. He returned permanently in 1986 and a marriage to Bet Lynch was included in his character’s narrative. After several departures and comebacks, Barraclough finally left Coronation Street at the end of 1998.
Barraclough was later to appear in a sitcom, Mother’s Ruin (1994), in which he played a bachelor dominated by his belligerent mother (Dora Bryan). He made a guest appearance in Last of the Summer Wine (“Has Anyone Seen A Peruvian Wart? 2005) playing opposite his friend Kathy Staff and appeared in a variety of TV shows including _Casualty_, Peak Practice (1994, 2001) and Funland (2005).
In 2009, he played the vicar in the BBC1 drama All the Small Things and from 2012 to 2013 he played Maurice in Last Tango in Halifax. In 2016 he played Mr Grainger in a reboot of Are You Being Served?. In 2001, he appeared on Lily Savage’s Blankety Blank.
On stage, Barraclough appeared in everything from musicals (The Boy Friend and Gypsy) to high drama (Death of a Salesman and A Different Way Home) and Christmas shows and pantomimes. He created the role of Santa in the lavish stage musical Santa Claus, which he reprised for several Christmases.