Ex-Corrie actresses Sarah Lancashire, Michelle Keegan and Katherine Kelly

An honest ranking of the most talented ex-Coronation Street actresses

From Michelle Keegan to Denise Welch and Sarah Lancashire - who's our pick of the bunch?

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Ex-Coronation Street actresses have been taking the world by storm for ages. They’ve been winning awards, praise, huge telly roles, presenting gigs – and even elections.

They’re a talented bunch, these former Coronation Street stars, there’s no doubt about it. But who’s the best of the best?

Here’s our honest ranking of the top 10 most talented ex-Corrie actresses.

Ex-Coronation Street actresses – ranked!

Jack Duckworth [William Tarmey], Tricia Armstrong [Tracy Brabin] and baby Brad
Tracy played Tricia Armstrong and is now mayor of West Yorkshire (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

10. Tracy Brabin

Talented Tracy played Tricia Armstrong in Coronation Street. Tricia was a troubled, but determined single mum who had an ill-advised one-night-stand with Terry Duckworth and got pregnant.

When Tricia left Weatherfield for her happy ever after with decorator Ray, Tracy went on to star in TV shows including Midsomer Murders, and even played Fergie – the Duchess of York – in a film about Charles and Diana. And she wrote episodes of Crossroads, Family Affairs and Tracy Beaker.

But in later years, Tracy has turned her talents to politics. She became MP for Batley and Spen after the murder of Jo Cox and in 2021 she was elected Mayor of West Yorkshire.

Natalie Horrocks [Denise Welch] marries Des Barnes [Phil Middlemiss]
Denise played Natalie Barnes (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

9. Denise Welch

Sassy Natalie Horrocks – later Natalie Barnes – was the talk of Coronation Street when she had a steamy affair with Kevin Webster. And Denise Welch – who was already an established actress thanks to her role in Soldier Soldier – became a household name.

Denise went on to appear in Waterloo Road, Down to Earth, and EastEnders and Hollyoaks. And she’s also a regular presenter on Loose Women.

Michelle Connor [Kym Marsh] comes into the factory to confront Carla King [Alison King]. Carla blurts out that she did know what Tony did and this sends Michelle into a rage.
Michelle was played by Hear’Say singer Kym Marsh

8. Kym Marsh

Strictly star Kym Marsh raised a few eyebrows when she landed the role of Michelle Connor in Corrie. After all, before that she was best known for being part of Hear’Say, the band created by telly talent show Popstars.

But Kym more than proved herself as Michelle – one of Steve McDonald’s many wives, and landlady of the Rovers. Now Kym’s a presenter on Morning Live, starring in Waterloo Road and she’s also touring in the Take That musical Greatest Days.

Making the decision to still go ahead with the wedding Eva Price, as played Catherine Tyldesley, is oblivious to the fact that Maria Connor, as played by Samia Longchambon, has snuck into the venue and gatecrashes the ceremony denouncing it as a 'sham'?!
Eva and Maria were love rivals (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

7. Catherine Tyldesley

Eva Price was a force to be reckoned with – a proper Corrie woman with some heartbreaking storylines and a lot of laughs, too. Eva was Leanne Battersby’s half sister, and the love rival of Maria Connor, and went to great lengths to get Aidan Connor down the aisle.

When Eva went to live in France with baby Susie, Catherine’s career took off. Since she left Corrie in 2018, Catherine’s starred in Scarborough, 15 Days, Trollied, and McDonald & Dodds.

Becky [Katherine Kelly] sees Stella's name as the new Rovers licensee
Becky was a brilliant addition to the Street (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

6. Katherine Kelly

Katherine made her name as another one of Steve McDonald’s wives – Becky Granger. She was a classic Corrie queen – funny, tragic, smart and generally brilliant.

Her drunken appearance at one of her and Steve’s weddings has gone down in history as one of the best ever Coronation Street weddings.

Becky left for a new life in Barbados and alter ego Katherine’s career has gone from strength to strength, too.  She starred in Mr Selfridge, The Night Manager, Cheat, Liar and Happy Valley, among many others.

More ex-Coronation Street actresses ranked

Hayley Cropper [JULIE HESMONDHALGH] moved to tears when Roy Cropper [DAVID NEILSON] surprises her with a special meal in the cafe to celebrate their third wedding anniversary.
The whole nation loved Hayley Cropper (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

5. Julie Hesmondhalgh

National treasure Julie won everyone’s hearts when she played Roy Cropper’s true love, Hayley. We all loved Hayley who was one of the most popular characters in Corrie history, so we were devastated when she died.

Fortunately, much like other ex-Coronation Street actresses Julie’s still very much in the spotlight, having starred in Happy Valley, Broadchurch, The Pact, and You & Me.

A moody Karen with Liz and Steve in Blackpool.
Karen was married to Steve but their romance was full of ups and downs (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

4. Suranne Jones

Would you believe, it’s another one of Steve McDonald’s former wives?! Suranne played the sharp-tongued, tragic Karen McDonald for four years in the early noughties and her feud with Tracy Barlow made for some thrilling episodes – not least their confrontation on the factory roof, that led to Karen leaving Weatherfield forever.

Since then, of course, Suranne has become a household name. She’s starred in Gentleman Jack, Scott & Bailey, Doctor Foster and Save Me, and she’ll soon be seen in the second series of Vigil.

Tina McIntyre, as played by Michelle Keegan, is attacked and left for dead but who tries to kill her - Carla, Peter, Rob or Tracy
Tina’s death was a tragedy (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

3. Michelle Keegan

We were all devo when Tina McIntyre was brutally killed by evil Rob Donovan in Corrie after some dramatic storylines including giving birth to Gary Windass’s surrogate baby and a steamy affair with Peter Barlow.

But luckily for everyone, Tina’s alter ego Michelle Keegan is well and truly in telly fave territory now. Since Tina’s tragic demise, Michelle’s been in the brilliantly funny Brassic, as well as Our Girl, and Tina and Bobby. Michelle will soon be seen in Ten Pound Poms on BBC One, and Fool Me Once, a new Netflix thriller adapted from a Harlan Coban novel.

Anne Reid (as Valerie Barlow) and Julie Goodyear (as Bet Lynch)
Anne Reid was Valerie in Coronation Street for ten years (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

2. Anne Reid

If we’re talking national treasures then who better than Anne Reid? She made her name as Valerie Barlow in Coronation Street. Valerie was Ken’s first wife and mother of Peter and Susan – who was Adam Barlow’s mum.

Anne played Valerie for 10 years between 1961 and 1971, until Valerie was electrocuted by a faulty hairdryer.

Anne worked with fellow telly legend Victoria Wood on her sketch show As Seen On TV, Pat and Margaret, and Dinnerladies. She’s been in Peak Practice, Life Begins, New Tricks and Prisoners’ Wives, among many, many others. She also played newly wed Celia in Last Tango in Halifax, and Lady Denham in Sanditon. Later this year we’ll see her in The Sixth Commandment, a BBC true-crime drama.

Curly is stunned when Raquel dresses sophisticated for an interview at a Manchester hotel.
Sarah Lancashire starred as Raquel Watts (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

1. Sarah Lancashire

Well who else would top the chart of former Corrie actresses than the brilliant Sarah Lancashire? She became a Corrie icon as Raquel Wolstenhulme – later Raquel Watts – who made the whole nation guffaw when she learned French from Ken Barlow.

Sarah left Coronation Street in 1996 – with a brief return in 2000 – and she’s barely been off our screens since. It’s hard to know where to start listing her triumphs, but they include Clocking Off, Rose and Maloney, and Lark Rise to Candleford.

She starred in The Accident, The Dresser and The Paradise. Alongside fellow Corrie alumni Anne Reid, Sarah starred in Last Tango to Halifax – playing Anne’s character Celia’s daughter, Caroline.

And then of course, there’s Happy Valley. Sarah played the brilliant Sergeant Catherine Cawood in the Sally Wainwright police drama, which came to a thrilling end earlier this year. She’s currently starring in the HBO Max series Julia, based on the life of Julia Child and frankly, we can’t get enough of Sarah Lancashire!

Read more: Coronation Street who’s leaving in 2023?

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Coronation Street usually airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV.

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Kerry Barrett
Freelance Soap Writer

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