Doris Speed was an English actress best known for her role as Annie Walker in the long-running British soap opera, Coronation Street. She was born Doris Estelle Speed on February 3, 1899, in Bury, Lancashire, England.

Speed grew up in Manchester and attended St. Anne’s School. Her early interest in acting was fostered by her mother, who was a keen amateur actress herself. She made her stage debut in 1916 at the age of 17 in Manchester’s Gaiety Theatre.

In the 1920s, Speed toured with various theatre companies, gaining experience and honing her craft. She worked with repertory companies and appeared in both comedies and dramas. Her talent and versatility allowed her to establish herself as a respected stage actress.

Speed’s big break came in 1960 when she was cast as Annie Walker in Coronation Street, a role she would play for 23 years. As the landlady of the Rovers Return Inn, Annie became a prominent and beloved character on the show. Her portrayal of the strong-willed, no-nonsense Annie Walker garnered her widespread acclaim and made her one of the most recognizable faces on British television.

During her time on Coronation Street, Speed’s character was involved in numerous storylines, including romances, scandals, and crises. She became one of the show’s longest-serving cast members and helped establish Coronation Street as one of the most popular and enduring soap operas in the world.

Speed’s contribution to Coronation Street was recognized with several awards and accolades. In 1977, she received the TV Times Award for Best Television Actress, and in 1980, she was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to drama. Her portrayal of Annie Walker has since become iconic and has left a lasting impact on British popular culture.

Apart from Coronation Street, Speed appeared in several other television shows and films throughout her career. She had roles in popular series such as The Gentle Touch, A Family at War, and Within These Walls. Her film credits include The Mirror Crack’d (1980) and A Little Night Music (1977).

Off-screen, Speed was known for her kindness and generosity. She often used her platform to support charitable causes and was known to be active in various community initiatives. Her warmth and authenticity endeared her to fans and colleagues alike.

Doris Speed passed away on November 16, 1994, in Marylebone, London, at the age of 95. Her legacy as Annie Walker remains a significant part of British television history. Her contributions to the soap opera genre and her portrayal of a strong, independent woman continue to inspire and resonate with audiences.

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