Coronation Street legend Barbara Knox – who has played Rita Tanner for over 50 years – is renewing her contract just days before her 90th birthday.
Legendary Coronation Street star Barbara Knox has signed on to continue her role on the soap just days before her 90th birthday.
The actress – who has played Rita Tanner continuously since 1972 after first appearing in 1964 – will remain on screen and has committed to working until 2024.
Barbara, who turns 90 on September 30, is the second oldest member of Corrie after Ken Barlow actor Bill Roache, who is 91.
An insider told The Sun: “Barbara is in Corrie’s DNA. She’s a real pro and the executives were delighted that she took up the pen to ensure she was on screens next year.
“Corrie is a fun, stable place to work with a supportive team, which makes it easier to live with family, have children and as actors grow up.
On board: Legendary Coronation Street star Barbara Knox has signed on to continue her role on the soap just days before her 90th birthday.
On screen: The actress – who has played Rita Tanner continuously since 1972 after a first appearance in 1964 – will remain on screen and has committed to working until 2024.
“It was a no-brainer for Barbara to sign on the dotted line during regular contract renewals this year.”
Barbara is thought to earn £200,000 a year for her role as Rita.
It comes after it was announced that Barbara’s 90th birthday would be marked with a one-off special on ITV.
She will join TV presenter Bradley Walsh to look back on her life in a new documentary.
Katie Rawcliffe, head of entertainment commissioning at ITV, said: “It’s easy to throw around the words ‘legend’ and ‘icon’, but Barbara Knox truly embodies both 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.”
The documentary will arrive on ITV1 and ITVX in October, and will trace the cobblestone legend’s first steps into showbiz before his 1964 Corrie debut.
She will also discuss some of its memorable storylines, such as the infamous tram accident in 1989, and revisit the site.
Special: This comes after it was announced that Barbara’s 90th birthday would be marked with a one-off special on ITV (pictured in 1978)
Barbara will reflect on gaining an MBE in 2010, and the documentary will feature interviews with many of her current and former Coronation Street co-stars.
Additionally, Barbara will share never-before-seen photos from her childhood.
The soap queen met the real Queen Elizabeth – who died in 2022 aged 96 – during her visit to the Corrie set in 2021.
The monarch was greeted by soap stalwarts Barbara, William Roache, Sue Nicholls (Audrey Roberts) and Helen Worth (Gail Platt) outside Rovers Return.
She looked delighted to meet the Corrie quartet, and during her visit to the cobbles – to celebrate the show’s 60th anniversary – she learned how the soap has adapted its filming process amid the coronavirus pandemic.
She also discussed hotpot with Sally Ann Matthews (Jenny Connor) during her visit to Manchester’s MediaCityUK in July 2021.
Speaking on Lorraine, she said: “We were still operating under COVID restrictions so we were all two meters apart.
“It was phenomenal and she had the brightest smiling eyes you’ve ever seen and I told her about fondue to go.
“She was so committed and for someone who met everyone and did three or four commitments a day, she listened to everyone and you could see she understood everything.
“We were all in the Rovers to take our bow.”