Coronation Street royalty Barbara Knox turned 90 today and will celebrate her milestone birthday with a very special one off documentary to air on ITV1 on October 13.
The street stalwart, who has played the iconic Rita Tanner continuously for over half a century, will join Bradley Walsh as she looks back on the highlights from an illustrious career in television and theatre.
Back in June, Barbara and Bradley visited Blackpool and Lytham to film scenes for the programme, with the pair spotted enjoying lunch together at The Grand Hotel on South Promenade in Lytham.
From Blackpool Prom to Corrie’s cobbles
As part of Barbara’s birthday celebrations, the ITV special will take a ‘This Is Your Life’-style look back at her life, including a poignant return to Blackpool Tower Ballroom which brings back fond memories of her childhood.
Produced by ITV Studios Daytime for a peak time audience, the programme will trace Barbara’s first footsteps into showbiz before her first appearance on Coronation Street in 1964.
Barbara will also share her most treasured memories from the role which has made her famous across the world, revisiting the site of the infamous Blackpool Tram accident which killed Corrie villain Alan Bradley in a 1989 episode, and reflecting on the moment she was awarded an MBE in 2010.
The documentary will also feature candid interviews with a number of Barbara’s co-stars past and present, celebrating Coronation Street’s longest serving actress and the impact she has had on television screens.
Barbara, notoriously private and guarded about her life away from set, for the first time shares with Bradley memories and even never seen before photos from her childhood.
When does ‘Barbara Knox at 90’ air on TV?
Knox celebrates her 90th birthday today (September 30) – but the ITV special won't air on the channel until Friday, October 13 at 9pm.
It will also be available on catch-up via ITVX.
What do TV critics say about the ITV special?
“A celebratory feel-good extravaganza in the vein of This Is Your Life as Coronation Street star Barbara Knox (whom you may know better as Rita Tanner) celebrates her 90th birthday with Bradley Walsh.
"Bradley – who is perfect for this kind of old-school presenting gig – has a host of surprises for Barbara, including a tearful reunion with long-time on-screen partner Thelma Barlow (aka Mavis Wilton in Corrie).
"A poignant return to Blackpool Tower Ballroom brings back fond memories of her childhood, and there’s a trip down memory lane (long stretches of which take the familiar form of a specific cobbled street), with Bradley recalling her career and Barbara recounting a few treasured anecdotes.
Katie Rawcliffe, head of entertainment commissioning at ITV, added: "It’s easy to throw the words ‘legend’ and ‘icon’ around, but Barbara Knox really does embody both of those terms.
"It’s a privilege to tell the story of one of British television’s most enduring stars as she celebrates a very special birthday.”
Did you know?
Barbara has played ‘Rita’ in Coronation Street for over 50 years after an initial one-off appearance as exotic dancer, Rita Littlewood, in 1964.
Well known as the owner of ‘The Kabin’, which Rita took over in 1973, her many sidekicks include other ‘Corrie’ legends Mavis Riley (Thelma Barlow) and Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden).
Rita has had three husbands - Len Fairclough, Ted Sullivan and Dennis Tanner - and holds the record for receiving more marriage proposals than any other character, a whopping 15 from 12 different men!