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Tributes paid to Coronation Street actor Jean Alexander

Jean Alexander as Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street. Photo: ITV Jean Alexander as Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street. Photo: ITV
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Tributes have been paid to Coronation Street actor Jean Alexander, who died on October 14.

Alexander, who found fame as Coronation Street’s Hilda Ogden, died three days after her 90th birthday.

Alexander began her career at the Adelphi Theatre, Manchester in 1949 and became a stalwart of repertory companies in Stockport, York and Oldham before joining the ITV soap in 1964.

She spent 33 years on the famous cobbled streets of Weatherfield before leaving in 1997’s Christmas Day episode. In 2005, readers of the TV Times voted her “the greatest soap opera star of all time”.

After a guest appearance in Roy Clarke’s long-running comedy Last of the Summer Wine in 1988, she returned as a regular in 1992 and remained with the programme as junk-shop owner Auntie Wainwright – a role she described as her favourite part – until its last episode in 2010.

John Whiston, creative director of ITV Studios, said: “Hilda Ogden was the earthy heart of the show for very many years, and the brilliance of Jean as an actor was that she could shift from high comedy to deeply emotional and moving drama in a heartbeat. That takes real skill and real acting but also real humanity.”

Bill Roache, who has played Ken Barlow since the first episode of Coronation Street in 1960, said Alexander “could make you laugh, particularly with Hilda’s comedy singing, but she could also deliver incredibly moving performances and make you cry”.

Former Rovers Return landlady Julie Goodyear said: “Jean was meticulous in her work. She really was a perfectionist and always word-perfect.”

The October 17 episode of Coronation Street will be dedicated to Alexander, who retired from acting in 2012.

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