Uncrowned (just be-curlered) "Queen of the Cobbles", Corrie's favourite busybody Hilda Ogden was the brilliant creation of Miss Jean Alexander, who died today aged 90.
Ex-librarian Jean Alexander was born and bred in Liverpool. She started acting when she joined a Macclesfield theatre company and spent years touring in Rep, as well as being the leading actress at York's Theatre Royal. Radio and television work eventually led to a small part on Coronation Street, playing Mrs Webb, a local landlady. Two years later in 1964 she landed the part of Hilda Ogden and a television legend was created - and earned her her place as a "national treasure".
For twenty three years Hilda Ogden lived at No. 13 Coronation Street and "kept her eye firmly wedged in the keyhole of life". She left in 1987 to keep house for Dr Lowther in Derbyshire and little was heard of her since. Hilda Ogden's departure attracted a record soap opera audience of 26m viewers. When she quit the show, fans launched a "Save Hilda" campaign without realising that she was leaving voluntarily.
- Lord Larry Olivier and Russell Harty formed the Hilda Ogden Appreciation Society in the 1970s.
- In a 1982 poll, she was named the 4th most recognisable woman in Britain, behind the Queen, the Queen Mother and Princess Diana.
- Readers of 'TV Times' named her the greatest soap opera star of all time in 2005.
- The Royal Television Society presented her with a magnificent trophy as Best Actress of 1987.
- Jean said she would not return to Coronation Street because the show "...is all about who's sleeping with whom."
- For a further two decades, she also played "Auntie Wainwright" in Last of the Summer Wine.
Here are some snippets of Hilda (and Stan) in action (their hopes for a change of luck dashed as ever...):
All about Hilda Ogden
RIP Jean Alexander (born Jean Hodgkinson, 11th October 1926 – 14th October 2016)