Stretford , Urmston , Trafford Photographer

Coronation Street actress Betty Driver dies

Coronation Street’ actress Betty Driver has died at the age of 91.

An ITV spokesperson said she had “died peacefully in hospital” on Saturday morning.

The actress had been absent from the soap for several months and had spent the past six weeks in hospital.

Barbara Knox, who plays ‘Coronation Street’s Rita Sullivan, said: “I have lost a very dear friend and the Street has lost a very great character, a professional to her fingertips – she will be greatly missed.”

Meanwhile, Julie Goodyear – who played a barmaid alongside Driver in the show’s Rover’s Return pub – paid tribute, saying: “It was an honour and a privilege to work with Betty Driver for 25 years. We laughed together, we cried together and never once had a cross word. She was a totally professional actress. A true icon and legend and a very dear friend.

“She will be missed and remembered by millions.”

Driver originally joined ‘Coronation Street’ as Betty Turpin on a three month contract in 1969 but ended up staying in the show for 42 years.

The actress enjoyed fame as a cabaret singer in the 40s and 50s and was persuaded to come out of retirement to play the role of feisty barmaid Betty.

Kieran Roberts, executive producer of the soap, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, said: “It is humbling to think that the 42 years she spent on Coronation Street was just half of her extraordinary career but Coronation Street certainly benefited when she decided to join our show in 1969.

“For more than four decades she delighted many millions of Coronation Street fans with her fantastic performance in countless great stories both dramatic and comic.”

Earlier this year, the actress told the BBC that she would never quit the soap: “I just love working and I will never retire – ever – they’ll have to shoot me to get rid of me. I just love people, you see, and I love the cast.”