Corrie's original barmaid, Doreen Keogh, dies at 91

Justin Harp
Photo credit: ITV/REX/Shutterstock

From Digital Spy

Coronation Street is paying tribute to original cast member Doreen Keogh following the sad news of her death.

News of the Irish actress's passing at age 91 on New Year's Eve (December 31) was officially confirmed by the ITV soap on Tuesday (December January 2), via The Mirror.

Doreen Keogh worked on Coronation Street in the show's early years, from 1960 to 1964, and was frequently seen behind the bar of the Rovers Return as Concepta Riley.

"Our auntie Doreen died peacefully in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, Ireland, on New Year's Eve after a long illness," her nieces and nephews Laurence, Matthew and Christina Keogh said.

Photo credit: ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Concepta's groundbreaking storylines on Corrie including the introduction of a debate on religious intolerance when her family initially rejected her relationship with non-Catholic bus driver Harry Hewitt.

Once the two characters were married, they were at the centre of another noteworthy episode when their young son went missing during their first anniversary celebration.

Doreen Keogh ultimately left the show in 1964, but would return for short stints in 1967 and 1972 to reunite with the Rovers Return's iconic landlady Annie Walker (Doris Speed).

"All at Coronation Street are sad to hear about the death of Doreen Keogh," ITV's creative director John Whiston said when news of her passing broke on Tuesday.

"There have been many barmaids in the Rovers over the years, dispensing pints and wisdom in equal measure. But Doreen played the first and so has a unique place not just in the history of the show but in the affection of all who watch The Street.

Photo credit: ITV/REX/Shutterstock

(Doreen in The Royle Family)

"Our thoughts are with the family as they mourn the passing of a wonderful person. And together with our audience we also mourn the passing of a very special actor."

In later years, Doreen would have memorable telly roles in the Irish soap Fair City, Father Ted, Ballykissangel, Cold Feet and played the quirky neighbour Mary Carroll in The Royle Family.

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