Doris Speed will forever be remebered for her role as the snobby Annie Walker the first landlady of “The Rovers Return” in “Coronation Street”. She was 61 before she won the role. She spent years acting in regional theatre in the North of England . While not working she worked in various establishemnts such as in the offices of the Gunness brewery in Manchester. There seems to be only one film role in her credit’s, 1960’s “Hell Is a City” with Stanley Baker. She starred in “Coronation Street” from it’s inception in 1960 until 1983. Doris Speed died in 1994 at the age of 95.
Her IMDB entry:
Doris Speed was one of Britain’s best-loved soap actresses, fondly remembered for her portrayal of Annie Walker, the snooty landlady of the Rovers Return pub in ITV’sCoronation Street (1960). She played the role for 23 years and was dubbed by the press as ‘The Queen Mother of Soap.’
Born in Manchester, her father George was a singer and her mother Ada a repertory actress. She toured with both her parents as a child. She later left the stage to work as a clerk in the giant Guinness brewery in Manchester and remained with the company for several years.
‘Coronation Street’ creator Tony Warren became a close friend of Speed and wrote the part of Annie Walker specifically for her. She joined the series when it was first aired in 1960 and appeared in 1,746 episodes. Hugely popular with viewers she received more fan mail than any other member of the cast.
Offstage she was a shy and retiring person but a keen theatre-goer. She once said “I would love to have done more theatre work because that is how I started. There are so many roles I would love to have played. But I owe my life to ‘Coronation Street’ and I don’t regret a minute of it.”
She was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to television in 1977 and received The Pye Television Award two years later. She was also an honorary member of the Licensed Victuallers’ Association. Doris made her final television appearance in 1993, when she gave an interview on Classic Coronation Street(1993), alongside her former screen son, Kenneth Farrington.
The above IMDB entry can be accessed online here.