TRIBUTES are pouring in after the death today of Coronation Street star Maggie Jones.
The actress, who played battleaxe Blanche Hunt, died in hospital this morning.
As her agent Katie Threlfall said: “Maggie was a rare treasure.”
Much loved, Maggie will be much missed – on screen and off.
Here is the official ITV statement issued a few minutes ago:
“It is with great sadness that ITV announces that Coronation Street actress Maggie Jones has today passed away aged 75.
Maggie, who has played battleaxe pensioner Blanche Hunt since 1974, died at the Salford Royal Hospital where she has been treated since falling ill in October.
Maggie had been making a slow recovery but her condition deteriorated early Wednesday morning and she passed away peacefully in her sleep.
Her friends and colleagues have been informed and William Roache today played tribute to her.
William said: ‘Maggie was a big part of the Barlow family and a brilliant actress. She was a tower of strength, physically frail but mentally strong as an ox and sharp as someone half her age. She had an amazing dry wit and was as funny if not funnier than Blanche. We were great crossword partners, we sat through Tracy’s trial scenes doing the crossword together. I don’t think Maggie ever realised how much she was loved not only by everyone on the show but by the millions of Blanche fans out there. She will be greatly missed.’
Coronation Street Executive Producer Kieran Roberts said: ‘Maggie was a much-loved colleague and a wonderful actress who turned Blanche into a true Coronation Street icon. She will be hugely missed by Coronation Street’s many millions of viewers and by everyone who works on Coronation Street. Our thoughts and prayers go to Maggie’s sister Joan at this very sad time.’
Maggie’s agent Katie Threlfall said: ‘Maggie was a rare treasure; incredibly kind, honest and loved by so many. It has been such a privilege to work with her, and we will miss her dearly.’
Details of Maggie’s funeral arrangements have yet to be made.
Maggie has appeared in more than 830 episodes of Coronation Street. Her barbed one line comments have made her one of the best loved soap characters of all time.
Below are some examples of some great ‘Blanchisms’
Blanche telling Liz off for leaving her washing drying all over the sitting room. ‘Kenneth doesn’t want to stare at thongs all day. The man’s an intellectual!’
Blanche says to Deirdre ‘You need to learn to enjoy other people’s misfortune; otherwise you’re going to have a very unhappy old age.’
Ken has just got down on one knee to propose to Deirdre and she’s turned him down. Blanche says, ‘Well if you leave it much longer he won’t be able to get up again!’
Blanche says ‘I don’t have any truck with tank tops. They’re unmanly.’
Blanche trying to watch TV while Deirdre and Tracy are gossiping. She says, ‘You pick over other people’s love lives for your own petty amusement. I wouldn’t mind but I can’t hear Trisha!’
Blanche says ‘I didn’t get central heating until I was 52 which is why my skin is like alabaster!’
Blanche to Tracy who’s in a good mood, ‘You look remarkably chipper. Trod on a snail?’
Blanche says to Deirdre, ‘Good looks are a curse. You and Ken should count yourselves lucky.'”
Coronation Street is on ITV1 at 8pm tonight and I expect many watching it will have Maggie, her family, friends and colleagues in their thoughts.