Coronation Street legend returns to screens at 95 as she comes out of retirement

Coronation Street icon Thelma Barlow has come out of retirement to make a new short film at the age of 95.

Thelma first appeared on the ITV soap as dithering Mavis Riley at the engagement party of Emily (Eileen Derbyshire) and Ernie Bishop (Stephen Hancock) in 1971.

The character reappeared the following year at their wedding, and by 1973 was a regular face on the cobbles having been employed as Rita Littlewood’s (Barbara Knox) assistant at The Kabin.

The two worked side by side for the next 24 years, but following the death of Mavis’ husband Derek (Peter Baldwin), she decided to move to Cartmel, Cumbria to open a bed and breakfast.symbol

 

Mavis is still regularly mentioned whenever Rita needs a break from the drama.

Actresses Julie Goodyear, Barbara Knox and Thelma Barlow in character as Bet, Rita and Mavis on Blackpool sea
Coronation Street actresses Thelma Barlow and Helen Worth
Since then, Thelma has had roles in Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies (which also starred Corrie alumni Anne Reid and Sue Devaney, alongside Sue Cleaver and Shobna Gulti, who would later join the show) plus in an episode of Doctor Who.

More recently she’s made personal appearances in documentaries celebrating her former colleagues Malcolm Hebden and Barbara Knox.

Now, after years out of the spotlight, she’s starring in Sleepless in Settle – a 20-minute comedy filmed in Rye and Rye Harbour on the East Sussex coast.

The film has been written and directed by actress Judy Flynn, who appeared as a secretary in Dinnerladies, which is where the two women met back in the late 90s.

Mavis Riley and Rita Littlewood actors Thelma Barlow and Barbara Knox filming scenes in Majorca in 1974
Rita Sullivan and Mavis Wilton in the Kabin in Coronation Street
However, on this morning’s (1st July) edition of Good Morning Britain, hosts Susanna Reid and Ed Balls were more keen to know whether she’d ever reprise her role in Weatherfield.

‘Well no, I would be far too terrified’ she told them.

‘I would be scared to do something commercial and in a big studio and the pressure of it.’

She continued: ‘I know the pressure of doing things perfectly. Said movie was less stressful because among friends.’

Mavis Riley and Rita Littlewood actors Thelma Barlow and Barbara Knox filming scenes in Majorca in 1974

The GMB team also addressed Helen Worth’s departure after 50 years on the Street as Gail Rodwell, and wondered whether that would be enough to tempt her back, something which Thelma was very quick to shut down!

‘Oh don’t keep on!’ she said.

‘Leave me alone…Not many people I knew are in it now.’

It sounds as though she’s keen to keep the past in the past, but then again, if you were to ask Mavis herself – she ‘wouldn’t really know’!

Related articles

UNFAIR ‘She shouldn’t exist’ moan Coronation Street fans as they claim actress has been ‘stitched up’ with ‘awful’ character

VIEWERS have been left annoyed with Coronation Street bosses for wasting the potential of a brilliant actress on an ‘awful’ character. Claire Sweeney first appeared in Weatherfield…

SAD STREET Coronation Street star pays tribute to on-screen partner amid heartbreaking exit

SAD STREET Coronation Street star pays tribute to on-screen partner amid heartbreaking exit A CORONATION Street star has paid tribute to their on-screen partner amid a heartbreaking…

Surprise Coronation Street exit for Roy as he leaves to be with his ex

Surprise Coronation Street exit for Roy as he leaves to be with his ex Poor Roy Cropper (David Neilson), he’ll do anything to have his normal life…

Missing Betsy Swain in danger as she pushes Joel Deering too far in Coronation Street

Missing Betsy Swain in danger as she pushes Joel Deering too far in Coronation Street Betsy Swain (Sydney Martin) is the only person to have caught onto…

Channique Sterling-Brown warns fans will be ‘tearing their hair out’ over upcoming Coronation Street twists

Coronation Street icon Channique Sterling-Brown has warned that fans will be left ‘tearing their hair out’ over what’s still to come for Dee-Dee Bailey following the reveal…

Rowan ups his campaign against Leanne in Coronation Street and Nick can’t believe how he does it

Corrupt businessman Rowan Cunliffe (Emryhs Cooper) continues to use Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) to his advantage in Coronation Street soon, as he works to blackmail her partner…