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Anne 'Annie' Walker (née Beaumont), played by Doris Speed, is one of the original Coronation Streetmarker characters, when the show began in 1960 and appeared in the role until 1983, when actress Doris Speed retired from acting due to ill health.

Character timeline

9 December 1960: Annie serves Ken Barlow and reveals her sympathy with Elsie Tanner over her troublesome son Dennis.

1961: Annie and Jack see their daughter Joan married off to her fianceé Gordon and hold a celebration at the Rovers.

1962: With money missing from the pub, Annie accuses customers but is forced to apologise after the money is discovered.

1963: A surprise This is Your Life is held for Annie which involves family, friends and surprise guests.

1965: Nellie Harvey announces to Annie that she plans to vote for her as Chairman of the Licensed Victualler Commitee.

1967: Annie wrongly suspects Jack of having an affair with Elsie Tanner and rows with her on the street.

1969: After the coach crash, Annie is left worried that Jack's condition will worsen and breaks down.

1970: Annie grieves after Jack Walker has died of a heart attack after staying at Joan's house, she later leaves for Derby.

1972: Annie is surprised when Billy Walker returns to the Rovers, he admits he's in debt and she offers him a job.

1973: Alf Roberts asks Annie to be his Mayoress of Weatherfield and she accepts.

1974: Annie takes in Arthur Harvey as a guest after he leaves Nellie however Annie manages to reunite Nellie and Arthur.

1975: The Rovers is broken into by robbers but Annie refuses to give them money, they run when they are caught by Len and Ray.

1977: Bet lays on a party at the Rovers to celebrate Annie's 40 year tenancy at the pub.

1979: After a lorry crashes into the front of the Rovers, Annie fears the brewrey will close the pub, however these fears are quashed.

1980: Annie bars Stan when he lures regulars away, however the regulars all stand up for Stan and Annie allows him to return.

1981: When Annie returns from holiday, she discovers Gordon Lewis has removed her staff, Annie reinstates them and sacks Lewis.

1982: Annie plans the brewery's 200th anniversary ball and is forced to take Fred as her escort but is furious at his exhibition.

12 October 1983: Annie prepares for the street fayre at the community centre by baking cakes in rivalry with Hilda.

  • 6 August 1984: Billy Walker returns from Derby and reveals to the Rovers staff that Annie has decided to retire as Landlady and has convinced him to become licensee.


History

Annie Walker (née Beaumont) was born in Clitheroemarker, Lancashiremarker on 11 August 1909, to parents Edward and Florence Beaumont. Annie was the first landlady of the Rovers Return, which she ran with her husband, Jack Walker. After Jack's death in 1970, she continued to run the pub on her own, often with the help of her son, Billy Walker (Ken Farrington)

Annie saw herself as the First Lady of the Rovers Return, with an almost regal dignity acquired through many years of tending to the working classes. She regarded herself as an intellectual and enjoyed associating herself with other "intellectuals", such as Ken Barlow. Mrs Walker's social pretensions more often than not led to despair at the behaviour and general demeanour of the less refined members of her clientele, most frequently Hilda and Stan Ogden. It was nearly always down to her husband Jack to offer an olive branch to both staff and customers who had been offended by Annie.

In 1973, Alf Roberts invited Annie to become Mayoress of Weatherfield, and she gloried in her position with an almost regal decorum. This led to Annie making the decision to learn to drive, and she purchased a second hand Rover 2000, a car fitting for a lady of her stature.

Regular rivalry with Nellie Harvey (played by Mollie Sugden), landlady of The Laughing Donkey, provided comic fireworks and one-upmanship, as the two ladies vied for perceived social supremacy.

The brewery tried to force Annie out on a number of occasions, first with the implicit help of her son Billy in 1972, then after a fall related to her home being burgled in 1975, but each time, she managed to keep the pub.

Departure

Annie was written out for most of winter 1983 when Doris Speed fell ill. Doris Speed later decided that she would not be returning to the show after her sickness. In February 1984, Billy Walker announced to a shocked staff at the Rovers that Annie had decided to retire to spend more time with her family and had moved to live with her daughter Joan in Derby. When Annie left the reigns of the Rovers to Billy he was unsure about the responsibility and went to visit Annie who persuaded him to stay on, Annie also later paid respect to her friend Stan Ogden by sending flowers to his funeral. It is not known what else happened to Annie and it still remains an unresolved mystery of the street. However, most post-1994 (the same year Doris died) mentions of Annie have been worded as if she has died.


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