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The celebrities, presenters and even an MP who started out as barmaids in Coronation Street

Over the past 60 years the iconic boozer Rovers Return has played a key role in Coronation Street.

And some of its finest barstaff have gone on to great things, from BAFTA winning actress Sarah Lancashire to the first Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin.

They’ve gone from pulling pints in Corrie to picking up awards for their acting roles since departing the famous cobbles.

READ MORE: How Strictly’s Johannes Radebe overcame homophobic bullying ordeal to become one of show’s most loved stars

Let’s take a look back and raise a toast to the sparkling ladies who have set the bar high.

Raquel Wolstenhulme – Sarah Lancashire



Ken and Raquel

Played by Sarah Lancashire from 1991-1996, ditzy Raquel stole our hearts and Sarah went on to become one of our most respected actresses, with award-winning roles in Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax.

Last year she played troubled mum Gwen in Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads series.

In the monologue An Ordinary Woman Gwen told how she was struggling to get to get to grips with her incestuous feelings towards her 15-year-old son.



The actress has won plaudits for her performances in shows such as Happy Valley and Last Tango In Halifax

The dizzy Rovers Return barmaid was known for her big hair and even bigger heart – and her French lesson with Ken Barlow is one of the soap’s finest comedy scenes.

Raquel: “I met a French man in Corfu who taught me how to say isn’t it a lovely day today.”

Ken: “Right, let’s put a sentence together. I want you to say to me in French ‘Hello Ken. My name is Raquel. Isn’t it a lovely day today?’

Raquel: “Ooh, clever. Right, here goes. Bonjour Ken. Je m’appelle Raquel. Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir?”

Tricia Armstrong – Tracy Brabin



Tricia Armstrong and son Jamie Armstrong meeting Bet Gilroy

Played by Tracy Brabin from 1994 to 1997, Tricia arrived on the cobbles when her son Jamie, played by Brassic star Joe Gilgun, was suspected of shoplifting at Bettabuys supermarket.

They moved permanently onto the street and lived at 1 Coronation Street owned by Mike Baldwin.

She had a fling with Terry Duckworth and went on to have a son named Brad in 1997.

Tracy, 60, previously said that juggling being a mother and working on Coronation Street “presented difficulties” and she decided to leave while she was six months pregnant with her second child.



Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin speaks at the Labour Party conference in Brighton

In 2016 the actress, who was born in Batley, West Yorkshire, was elected MP for Batley and Spen in a by-election following the murder of Jo Cox.

She was appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport by Jeremy Corbyn in January last year and in April 2020, new Labour leader Keir Starmer appointed her Shadow Minister for Cultural Industries.

In May this year she resigned as an MP after she was elected as the first mayor of West Yorkshire. She’s the first woman to be elected as a metro mayor, who are directly elected by citizens in their area and are chairs of their area’s combined authority.

Natalie Barnes – Denise Welch



Natalie Barnes (Denise Welch) behind the bar at the Rovers Return.

Played by Denise Welch from 1997 to 2000, feisty Natalie went from barmaid to landlady.

And 63-year-old Denise went on to become a household name as a long-standing panellist on the daily chat show Loose Women.

Her Corrie character first appeared in Weatherfield when she took over the running of the garage and began a relationship with her son Tony’s married business partner Kevin Webster.

After landing a job as The Rovers’ new barmaid, much to the dismay of the regulars, she eventually won them over with her off-the-cuff manner.



Denise on Loose Women

She found love with Des Barnes. But tragedy struck when he stepped in to help Tony when he was accosted by drug dealers looking for money that he owed them.

Des later died in hospital of a heart attack and a bereft Natalie bought the pub.

After her character left the street to start a new life, former Soldier Soldier actress Denise went on to play popular teacher Steph Haydock in the hit BBC school drama Waterloo Road and ‘Scary Mary’ alongside her ex husband Tim Healy in the ITV comedy Benidorm.

And in 2012 she won Celebrity Big Brother while in the grip of depression.

Earlier this year Denise, whose son Matthew Healy fronts the band The 1975, was thrilled to be reuniting with former Coronation Street co-star Nikki Sanderson to play the role of her dance teacher mother Trish Minniver in Hollyoaks.

Shelley Unwin – Sally Lindsay




Played by Sally Lindsay from 2001-2006, bubbly Shelley was a Rovers favourite.

And Sally was inspired by one of her biggest soap storylines to create her new TV drama for Channel Five.

Sally, who went on to star in Mount Pleasant, Still Open All Hours, Ordinary Lies, Moving On and Cold Call, has harked back to her Corrie days to create, co-write and executive-produce The Madame Blanc Mysteries.

Corrie viewers were gripped when, back in 2003, Peter Barlow married Shelley while still married to Lucy Richards.

After confessing to his affair, but failing to mention that he was married to the other woman, Peter made it up the aisle and entered into a bigamous marriage with Shelley.

When Shelley learned that Peter was married to Lucy and they had a baby son, Simon, she threw Peter out and nursed a broken heart while trying to run the Rovers Return with her mother Bev.

The actress from Stockport was inspired by the bigamy storyline when she created Jean White, a widowed antiques dealer who travels to the French village of Sainte Victoire to sort out her husband’s affairs.

Sally’s recently been seeing presenting ITV quiz show Tenable, with regular host Warwick Davies taking time out for another project.

Becky Granger – Katherine Kelly



Katherine Kelly as Becky

Played by Katherine Kelly from 2006 to 2012, Becky married Steve McDonald, but their relationship was torn apart by meddling Tracy Barlow.

After rising to fame on Corrie as the gobby barmaid the actress has taken on a drastically different change in style from her role as Becky.

Katherine, who trained at top drama school RADA and was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, starred in the 90 minute BBC Four biopic The Best Possible Taste.



Katherine as Sally in Innocent

She played Lee Middleton, the wife of the late comedian Kenny Everett, in her first role after the soap.

She then played socialite Lady Mae Loxley in ITV drama Mr Selfridge before joining the cast of Happy Valley as DI Jodie Shackleton.

Katherine is an ITV drama staple, starring in the drama Cheat, the second series of Liar as Detective Inspector Karen Renton, and the second series of Innocent as Sally Wright.

Tina McIntyre – Michelle Keegan



Michelle Keegan as Tina McIntyre

Tina McIntyre was played by Michelle Keegan from 2008 to 2014.

Michelle, from Stockport, went from check-in agent at Manchester Airport and working at Selfridges in the Trafford Centre to find fame in the soap as Tina, the girlfriend of David Platt.

Her character was embroiled in major storylines covering hard-hitting issues including perjury, abortion and surrogacy.



Michelle Keegan

And there was a shock when, after having an affair with alcoholic Peter Barlow, her character was murdered.

Tina was pushed from the builder’s yard balcony and beaten with a lead pipe by Rob Donovan before dying of her injuries.

Michelle went on to play the lead role Lance Corporal Georgie Lane in the BBC drama series Our Girl from 2016 to 2020.



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She also showed off her acting mettle as Tracy Shawcross in the BBC One Danny Brocklehurst drama Ordinary Lies, in a harrowing story about receptionist who became involved with drug trafficking.

She played Tina Moore in the biopic Tina and Bobby – about 1966 World Cup hero Bobby Moore and his wife.

And she currently plays Erin Croft in the Sky comedy drama Brassic.

In 2015 she married former TOWIE star Mark Wright and they enjoyed a spectacular wedding day in Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk.



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