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Coronation Street’s longest-running characters ever

Coronation Street must offer some really great benefits as part of its employment packages judging by how long this lot have stuck around

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It’s usually really hard to keep up with all the comings and goings in Soapland as actors head off, return, leave again. And then return. All we can assume is that Coronation Street must offer an impressive employee benefit package judging by how long some of its stars stick around for.

Just cast your eyes over this lot. They’ve got more staying power than Theresa May in a Teflon suit.

Ken Barlow (William Roache) – 59 years

Ken Barlow Coronation Street
Ken Barlow as we know and love him (Credit: ITV)

Sir Kenneth of Barlow isn’t only Corrie’s longest running character, he’s actually soap’s longest serving. What an accolade. He first appeared on the cobbles way back in 1960 and has appeared continuously – apart from a small break in 2013.

During his time in Weatherfield Ken has had several affairs and fathered four children with three different women.

Ken Barlow Coronation Street early days first appearance
Ken as he first appeared in the soap (Credit: YouTube/ITV)

His most worrying moment was when he was pushed down the stairs by a mystery assailant and left for dead. Luckily he pulled through and made a full recovery. His attacker was revealed as his son Daniel Osbourne.

Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire) – 55 years

Emily currently resides in Peru (Credit: ITV)

Now on an extended break in Peru, Emily Bishop racked up a huge 55 years on screen before she went away.

She survived being the intended murder victim for Richard Hillman after he knocked her out with a crowbar. Maxine Peacock interrupted Richard’s kill and probably saved Emily’s life.

Emily first appeared in the soap way back in January 1961.

Rita Tanner (Barbara Knox) – 47 years

Rita from Corrie
Rita has been a Corrie stalwart for decades (Credit: ITV/YouTube)

Barbara Knox has been starring as red-haired Rita for a staggering 47 years. She first joined the cast of Coronation Street in 1964 and then returned in 1972 for a permanent role.

Rita’s been married four times – most recently to Dennis Tanner – but has failed to find a long-lasting love or have any children of her own. Despite this she often takes in the Street’s waifs and strays including Jenny Bradley, Tina Mcintyre and Gemma Winter.

Gail Platt (Helen Worth) – 44 years

Gail Platt Coronation Street
Gail has been at the centre of the drama for many years (Credit: ITV)

Officially called Gail Rodwell but better known as Gail Platt, she first graced the cobbles in 1974 and is the soap’s third current longest running character after Ken and Rita.

Gail has packed a lot into her time on the cobbles including six marriages – none of which have ended happily. She’s also been conned for £40k after having an affair with her mum Audrey’s ex, Lewis Archer and was accused of murdering husband Joe McIntyre.

Gail Platt Martin Platt Coronation Street
Gail on her wedding day to Martin Platt (Credit: ITV)

She also survived an attempt on her life when son David pushed her down the stairs.

Betty Williams (Betty Driver) – 42 years

Legendary maker of hotpots, Betty, was a stalwart behind the bar at the Rovers Return. She even still has a picture in the pub in tribute to actress Betty Driver who passed away in 2011.

Betty first appeared in June 1969 when she moved to the cobbles with her husband Cyril. They arrived to help Betty’s sister Maggie run the local corner shop after her marriage broke down.

Betty was written out when the actress died and viewers learned the character had passed away off-screen.

Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) – 40 years

Sue Nicholls Coronation Street Audrey Roberts
Sue Nicholls plays Audrey Roberts (Credit: ITV)

Audrey is another undisputed Corrie icon and has been crimping and curling the residents since 1979

She was originally introduced as a guest character playing Gail Platt’s mother but was made a series regular in 1985.

Audrey has been through a lot in her time, losing her beloved husband Alf Roberts and the revelation of another child, Stephen. She also cheated death after Richard Hillman discovered she was worth a lot of money and tried to kill her in a house fire.

Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell) – 36 years

Michael Le Vell has played Kev for over 30 years (Credit: ITV)

Mechanic Kevin and his moustache made his first appearance back in 1983 when he moved in with Hilda Ogden as her lodger. The pair had a mother/son relationship and Hilda disapproved when Kev started dating Sally Seddon.

Kev and Sally went on to marry and had two daughters. Rosie and Sophie, they were Soapland’s most stable couple until Kev cheated with cougar Natalie Horrocks.

When he and Sally split he married Alison Wakefield. The couple were devastated when their son Jake died shortly after birth.

Kev and Sally reunited and he went on to have an affair with his best friend Tyrone Dobbs’ wife Molly. She gave birth to his son Jack before dying in the 2010 tram crash.

Vera Duckworth (Liz Dawn) – 34 years

Vera was a series regular from 1974 – 2008 when she passed way peacefully in her sleep, to the distress of her husband Jack.

She died from heart failure but made an appearance as a vision of Jack’s in 2010 when he died.

Vera was introduced when she worked in the mail order factory on the Street and formed a friendship with Ivy Tilsley.

Sally Metcalfe (Sally Dynevor) – 33 years

Sally Corrie prison Coronation Street
Poor Sally is currently behind bars (Credit: ITV)

Sally arrived in Weatherfield in 1986 when she was on her way to a job interview. She was splashed by Kevin Webster who was driving in his van and he took her back to the house he shared with Hilda Ogden to dry off. And there began a beautiful relationship.

She and Kevin married in 1986 and bought Hilda’s house from her when she left. In 1990 Sally gave birth to Rosie in the back of a taxi on Christmas Eve.

Sally is currently in prison after being falsely accused of fraud and corruption by Duncan Radfield.

Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) – 29 years

Steve McDonald Coronation Street
What would Corrie be without Steve? (Credit: ITV)

The much-married Steve was just a fresh faced teenager when his family moved in 1989.

Steve is infamous for being the most married man in soap having clocked up seven marriages during his time on the cobbles.

He is currently married to Tracy Barlow – for the second time – and they share a daughter, Amy, together.

Steve also has son Oliver with Leanne Battersby after a one-night-stand which cost him his marriage to Michelle Connor.

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