16. BETTY WILLIAMS (175 VOTES)
Played by: Betty Driver
2012 character poll position (women): 6
Introduced as the sister of Maggie Clegg who ran the corner shop, Betty was soon hired by Jack Walker as a barmaid at the Rovers – a job she held for 43 years!
Known for her matronly manner, no nonsense Betty initially clashed with landlady Annie Walker but they both grew to respect each other. Betty also didn’t approve of Bet Lynch at first but over the years they became lifelong and best mates.
Unlike other classic Corrie women, Betty led a quiet life. Until 1974 she was married to policeman Cyril Turpin. She was heartbroken when he died of a heart attack. 21 years later she was startled to meet up with old flame Billy Williams. After a whirlwind romance they married. But the marriage only lasted until Billy’s death in 1997.
The only scandal that she faced was in 1974 when it was discovered that she was indeed Gordon Clegg’s mother and not his aunt as everyone had been led to believe. But after the revelation, they formed a close relationship and Betty would often visit Gordon and his family in Wimbledon.
Famed for her hotpot, Betty’s dish was often scrutinised by the likes of Alec Gilroy, Vera Duckworth and Vernon Tomlin but it is still being served even after Betty’s death through Sean Tully. She also walked out many times from the Rovers due to numerous reasons – accused of stealing, accused of being too old and just clashing with various bosses.
Betty holds two Rovers records: the longest serving barmaid and the oldest barmaid. She pulled her last pint when she was 91. While she had only worked part-time since the mid-80s, her presence was known. Betty passed away in 2012 and her memory lives on as her photo is displayed in the Rovers, as if she’s still keeping watch on the goings-on in the pub.
A fan of Betty?
Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.
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