Kelvin Fletcher and Alison King
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Kelvin Fletcher and Alison King lead tributes as ‘hero’ mentor David Johnson dies

He founded The Oldham Theatre Workshop

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Kelvin Fletcher and Alison King have lead the tributes to David Johnson, the founder of Oldham Theatre Workshop, who has died.

David was responsible for kickstarting Kelvin‘s career alongside many other Emmerdale and Coronation Street stars, as well as other huge names.

He founded the theatre workshop to help locals who were interested in being on stage.

It was Europe’s biggest youth theatre company and produced over five stage shows every year.

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Former Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher lead the tributes to David (Credit: ITV)

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Kelvin Fletcher leads tributes

Kelvin Fletcher, who played Andy Sugden in Emmerdale, was among the first to pay his respects on social media, saying David was “singlehandedly the biggest influence on my career.”

Antony Cotton, who plays Sean Tully in Coronation Street, also paid his respects.

“Just heard the saddest news,” he wrote. “David Johnson, who was the director of the phenomena that was Oldham Theatre Workshop, has died.

“He put so many of us on the map, and kickstarted so many careers, both on stage and off. So many of us owe him so much. I’m absolutely gutted.”

In a second emotional tweet he added: “He formed my childhood so profoundly, and in turn, my adult life too.

“Those years were the best years of my life.

“Rest in Power David. You were the best.”

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Alison King – aka Carla Barlow – joined Kelvin Fletcher in paying tribute (Credit: ITV)

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Alison King says thank you to David

Coronation Street actress Alison King, who plays Carla Barlow, also paid tribute.

As Alison doesn’t have any social media accounts, she asked friend and colleague Antony to post on her behalf.

In her lengthy statement, she called David her “absolute hero”.

Alison credited David with getting her where she is today, and also said: “If it wasn’t for you I would never have had my beautiful daughter Daisy.”

David launched Oldham Theatre Workshop in 1968 and welcomed countless stars through his doors.

Coronation Street legends Anne Kirkbride (Deirdre Barlow), and Michael Le Vell (Kevin Webster) both attended his workshops.

David also helped launch the careers of Anna Friel, Suranne Jones and Emmerdale’s Lisa Riley (Mandy Dingle).

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