Barbara Knox, who plays Rita Tanner in Corrie
Barbara Knox is reflecting on her time in Coronation Street in a new documentary (Picture: ITV)

Coronation Street legend Barbara Knox is the subject of a new documentary airing on ITV tonight, which will see the notoriously private 90-year-old open up about her life for the first time.

Bradley Walsh, who played Danny Baldwin in the soap, will chat to Barbara as she looks back on the highlights of her television and theatre career, as well as sharing photos from her childhood and stories about her personal life away from the cobbles.

Barbara, who reached the milestone birthday in September, is of course one of the soap’s longest-serving stalwarts

But who does she play on the show and how long has she been a part of it?

Who does Barbara Knox play in Coronation Street?

Barbara plays Rita Tanner in Coronation Street.

Rita has seen her fair share of drama ever since she arrived on the cobbles. She is most known for running The Kabin newsagents and fostering young people in Weatherfield.

She looked after the likes of Jenny (Sally Ann Matthews) and Sharon (Tracie Bennett) and in recent years, took Gemma (Dolly-Rose Campbell) under her wing.

Rita has been married several times during the show also.

The character, born Rita Littlewood, became Rita Fairclough when she married Len in 1977 – but he died six years later in a road accident.

She had an affair with Alan Bradley, the father of her foster daughter Jenny Bradley – although the relationship was troubled, with Alan secretly mortgaging Rita’s home to fund his business, and assaulting her when she found out.

He later died in 1989 after being hit by a tram.

What are your favourite Rita Tanner moments from Coronation Street?Comment Now

Rita went on to marry Ted Sullivan in 1992 – although it was a short-lived marriage as he was terminally ill and died from a brain tumour three months later.

Her final marriage, to old friend Dennis Tanner in 2012, also ended abruptly after he ran off with Gloria Price (Sue Johnston).

How long has Barbara Knox been in Coronation Street?

Barbara has been a regular fixture on the soap since 1972.

Reflecting on her incredible career, Barbara pondered over the prospect of saying goodbye to it all and retiring.

‘Unbelievable really isn’t it? How the years have gone. And what we’ve crammed into the years and how fortunate I have been, in being in the Street for about 50 or 60 of them. I’ve lost track!’, she said during the documentary, which will air this Friday (October 13) on ITV.

‘I’ve been very fortunate. I can’t believe all these years have gone by and I’m looking at 90. I can’t believe that. And if they’re listening. I don’t want to retire.’

Bradley Walsh and Barbara Knox from an ITV documentary called Barbara Knox at 90
Barbara, who opens up to Bradley Walsh, has been a fixture of the soap since 1972 (Picture: ITV)

Who is the longest-serving cast member on a soap?

While Barbara may have been a part of Corrie for the past 50 years, she is by no means the longest serving cast member on a soap – although that honour does belong to one of her fellow Coronation Street stars.

In fact it’s William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, who holds the Guinness World Record for the longest stint in a TV soap opera – having played the character since 1960.

However, he’s not the longest-serving character in a soap opera in any medium – as that honour belongs to The Archers’ star Patricia Greene.

Patricia has played Jill Archer on the long-running Radio 4 soap since 1957 – an impressive 66 years.

Barbara Knox At 90 is on ITV tonight at 9pm.

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