Inside the life of Maureen Lipman from Corrie role to Helen Mirren feud

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Maureen Lipman has had an extensive career which dates back to her first entertainment role in 1968, to her role as Evelyn Plummer in the ITV soap Coronation Street. takes a look inside the life of Maureen, from the tragic death of her husband, Gogglebox feature and feud with Helen Mirren.

Life before Coronation Street

Maureen started out her acting career as Sylvie in Up the Junction in 1968 and played a number of small roles for the first couple of years.

She starred as Gloria in 1973’s Casanova, Sarah Lewis in Crown Court 1974 and Jane Lucas in Agony from 1979 to 1981.

Maureen starred in films such as Captain Jack as Barbara Bostock in 1999 and Aunt Eller in Oklahoma! 1999.

She later went on to star in Doctor Who as The Wire in 2006, Ladies of Letters as Irene Spencer from 2009 to 2010, Holby City as Bonnie Walters in 2011 and Mags Dormer in Midsomer Murders, 2012.

Coronation Street

Before her time as Evelyn Plummer, Maureen played the role of Lillian Spencer in 2002 for six episodes.

She was brought in as an old friend of Fred Elliot (played by John Savident) as a relief manager of the Rovers Return.

Lillian ordered barmaids Shelley Unwin (Sally Lindsay) and Geena Gregory (Jennifer James) to call her “Mrs. Spencer”.

On her first day, she barred Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden) and Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox) who had in turn barred Lillian from The Kabin.

Not long after annoying mainly all the residents of Weatherfield in a small amount of time, Lillian received a phone call from publican Roger Fairbanks offering her a better job at his coaching inn in Marple, so the family packed up and left Weatherfield without hesitation.

Maureen later returned to the soap in 2018 as Tyrone Dobbs’ (Alan Halsall) battle-axe grandmother who isn’t afraid to say what is on her mind.

She is currently battling with her daughter Cassie Plummer (Claire Sweeney) who recently had a relapse and was found by granddaughter Hope Dobbs (Isabella Flanagan).

Evelyn has been desperate for Tyrone not to fall into his mother’s trap and let her ruin their lives but is struggling to get him to see sense.

Marriages and heartbreaking loss

Maureen has been married two times, with her first husband Jack Rosenthal being a screenwriter for Coronation Street, writing 250 episodes

Sadly, Jack died in 2004, with Maureen going on to marry her most recent husband Guido Castro.

After 13 years with the businessman, Guido sadly died in 2021 following a battle with coronavirus which left him “weakened”.

The star explained that Guido, 84, contracted the virus days after receiving a dose of the coronavirus vaccine, but attributes his death to a form of Parkinson’s Disease.

Speaking about his death during an episode of Gogglebox, she explained: “He got Covid – it wasn’t Covid that killed him but it weakened him terribly.

“We don’t know how he got it or when or if he had it when he got the vaccine. It was not a good way to go.

“You can’t express what it’s like not to be able to touch somebody when you’re in this [protective gear], and he’s in that, and then there’s a screen, and you can see them disintegrating in life, and you can’t do anything.

“And in the end, you know, the daughters and I were creeping in through a French window, and sitting there – masks, gloves, pinnies.”

Maureen recently brought her “gentleman friend” David to the National Television Awards ceremony and told Sunday Express the couple will “see where it goes”.

Helen Mirren feud

Just like her character Evelyn Plummer, Maureen has been known for her outright opinions, which recently involved Helen Mirren.

The Corrie star recently criticised the casting of Helen Mirren as former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir.

Speaking to The Jewish Chronicle, Maureen said that she was uncomfortable with the idea of Mirren playing Meir because she is not Jewish.

“With that I disagree, because the Jewishness of the character is so integral. I’m sure she will be marvellous, but it would never be allowed for Ben Kingsley to play Nelson Mandela.

“You just couldn’t even go there. Perhaps you need to have some sort of panel of people who say this is not acceptable, this is acceptable.”

Maureen also spoke about her issues on Good Morning Britain where she added: “I’ve nothing against Helen playing [her].

“My query is, should the casting directors have looked first – and maybe they did – at Bette Midler or Barbra Streisand or Jennifer Connelly, or Scarlett Johansson, or indeed, I probably would have gone for Tracey Ullman, who’s a brilliant actress.”

Gogglebox exit

Maureen starred alongside This Morning star and Royal Correspondent Gyles Brandreth on the all-star spin-off of Channel 4’s popular show.

Once again, Maureen’s blunt comments were seen throughout her time on the show, with her close friendship with Gyles being a fan favourite.

However, Maureen announced her departure from the show in 2021 after she slammed the show’s editing.

Joining the Loose Women panel in November 2021, she said: “I’ve seen all the male tackle that I need to see for this lifetime, to be honest, I really have.

“I’ve run through my period of going [shocked noises], ‘Oh, get it off!’ Gyles loves it, he absolutely loves it and we had such a good time but none of the clever things we said went into it… so no.”

Becoming a Dame

After her 50-year career, Maureen became the first dame of Coronation Street, after receiving the honour from the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle in 2021.

She explained it was the “biggest secret of my life for two painful months” when she was informed of the decision.

Speaking afterwards she said: “It’s been a long time coming because I heard about it in 2020 and then I couldn’t collect it.

“And so the coat you bought becomes like something you don’t want to wear. Then it becomes, ‘What the heck do I wear on my head?’

“In the end, I went to Coronation Street and I said, ‘Have you got any fascinators in wardrobe?’, and they gave me seven.”

She had been made a dame commander for services to charity, entertainment and the arts.

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