As Liz is forced out of The Rovers, who IS Coronation Street’s greatest ever landlady?

She and son Steve stepped down last night

| Updated:

As any fan of Corrie will tell you, people can come and go, but the Rovers Returns is probably by far the best loved character on the cobbles.

But of course, the Rovers isn’t the Rovers without a good captain to steer the ship.

And over the years, we have seen many colourful characters step behind the bar and bring a little happiness to the street.

And now we are once again about to see the pub change hands as Liz and Steve McDonald stepped down last night and Peter Barlow took over with Toyah Battersby.

But over the years we have seen some incredibly colourful characters at the helm – here are a handful of our favourites.

Annie Walker (1937–1984)

Read more: Stella McCartney “furious” with Beckhams for publishing photo of her young daughter with Harper

A lot of you are probably too young to remember Annie Walker. She was like the Queen of the Street. In fact she was the queen. She might have been a true northerner running a pub on a tucked away working class street, but she had the airs and graces of a hoity-toity type who quite happily looked down her nose on her customers and neighbours.

But while she kept the pub afloat for 46 years, she was most definitely put the wringer during her time behind the bar. She was devastated when her beloved hubby Jack died and was even held up by two thieves in her bedroom in 1975. But being a tough old boot she sent them off with a flea in their ear!

In spite of her hard edge, she did show a loving side and was particularly fond of bar maids Bet Lynch and Betty Turpin.

In fact, years later when Annie popped her clogs, she left the tenancy of the pub and role of landlady to Betty in her will; however, Betty didn’t fancy herself in the role and Annie’s son Billy took over.

Bet and Alec Gilroy (1984–1995)

Many of you will remember actress Julie Goodyear best for lasciviously gobbling a banana on CBB, but for years she ruled the roost at the Rovers as Bet Lynch with her husband Alec Gilroy. And what a pair they were.

To quote the cast of Love Island, on paper they didn’t seem a perfect match, She was glam with a lashings of blonde extensions and he was squat with specs that made him look like a mole. But somehow they worked and together they gave viewers years of hilarious entertainment.

But way before Alec arrived on the scene, Bet had become the first non-married landlady of the pub, after neighbours had petitioned to get her the role of manager.

However, she almost lost it all when in 1986, the Rovers was ripped apart by a blaze that almost killed her. Luckily Kevin Webster was on hand to rescue her from the first floor window.

It was after the Rovers was rebuilt that she met Alec and one of the Street’s stringers relationships was born. However, during her years at the Rovers, Bet endured a lot of heartache. She discovered that the son she had had when she was 16 was killed in a car crash and considered about taking her life, only to be talked out of it by Eddie Yates.

Bet eventually left the pub when, after Alec had headed of to Southampton to work his dream job, Newton and Ridley told her that they planned to sell the whole pub. Let down by her best friends who refused to help her pay for it, she jumped in a taxi and left the Street!

Jack and Vera Duckworth (1995–1998)

With Bet Gilroy gone, and the pub up for sale, common-as-muck Jack and Vera Duckworth decided they wanted to try their hand at the pub. Only thing was they faced competition from another couple called Jim and Liz McDonald.

Conveniently, Jack came into money when his brother Cliff was killed and was able to put in an offer for the pub before they were rivals. Even though she was brassy as, Vera felt like that life was finally treating her the way she deserved.

But as Duckworth luck would have it, the couple were soon slapped with a £17,000 tax bill and were conned into teaming up with Alec Gilroy as a business partner. The Duckworths would later return to their house along the street and die in episodes that had the nation broke hearted.

Natalie Barnes (1998–2000)

Alec Gilroy only held the license for a short time and had let the Duckworths live on in the pub. But when he sold it on to peroxide  siren Natalie, she cruelly evicted them. Natalie was trouble from the start and went not to enjoy a fling with ‘tached Kevin Webster. However, karma hit, when her husband Des Barnes was murdered by thugs who were looking for Natalie’s son, Tony.

Fred Elliott (2000–2006)

When Natalie put the pub up for sale stuttering local butcher Fred Elliott took over The Rovers. At first he ran the bar with his wife Eve, until it turned out she was a bigamist. After she ran off with her other husband, Fred continued to run the Rovers but because he had no interest in working behind the bar, he let barmaid Shelly take over. When Fred died the Rovers was left his son Ashley.

Steve McDonald (2006–2011)

Having missed out on buying the pub to the Duckworths, Liz McDonald ended up working there behind the bar. But when Fred died, son Steve bought The Rovers from Ashley and made his mum landlady and licensee.

But life was never smooth. Steve ran the pub into the ground and took out loans against it, and Liz feared that the pub would be lost. Butane out of the blue her husband Jim returned and promised to buy the pub from Steve for Liz.

However, when he failed to raise the money he ended up trying to rob a bank and was banged up good and proper. Devastated, Liz hit the road and left Weatherfield.

Stella Price (2011–2012)

Steve decided to focus on SteetCabs and sold the pub to snooty Stella and her hubby Karl. While they were happy running the pub to start with, Stella was devastated when she discovered that Karl had been having it away with barmaid Sunita and demanded that he sign his half of The Rovers over to her. But once she had full ownership, things went from bad to worse.

The pub burned down and Sunita was killed in the fire. It would later emerge that Karl had started there fire and had thrown Sunita down the stairs.

Once he was arrested, Stella decided that the street had too many bad memories and hit the road.

Liz McDonald and Steve McDonald (2013–2015)

Read more: Awkward! Kate Garraway mistakes a throwback pic of Susanna Reid for Ben Shephard

With Stella gone, nitwit Steve bought back the Rovers and, behind his other half Michelle Connor’s back, secretly asked his mum Liz to fork out half of the money.

Although initially angry Michelle decided she rather liked the idea of being a landlady and was irritated when Liz made a comeback to the Street to help out at the pub.

Liz would later embark on a relationship with Tony Stewart, who eventually tried to betray her by plotting with Tracy Barlow to get the pub away from the McDonalds. Eventually she found out the truth about pony’s plot and managed to get back the shares.

Now with Michelle Connor having ended her marriage she demanded of Steve to sell his half of The Rovers and split the money of the sale with her as part of their divorce settlement.

Liz, not wanting to go into business partnership with a stranger, also decided to sell up and Peter Barlow stepped forward to snap up the pub!