It's hard to believe it but the wonderful Amanda Barrie celebrates her 81st birthday today. The ever-youthful star of stage and screen was born Shirley Anne Broadbent on 14 September 1935 in Ashton Under Lyne.
Amanda is a real fans favourite, starring in two early Carry On films in the 1960s. She first of all played the supporting role of Glam Cab driver Anthea in Carry On Cabby before following this up with a starring role as Cleo in the classic Carry On Cleo in 1964. Sadly Amanda did not return the Carry On team for further adventures as her agent sent her off for a season at the Bristol Old Vic instead!
Amanda was a natural in the Carry Ons, working beautifully with the likes of Sid James, Kenneth Williams and Kenneth Connor. Other film appearances at the time included A Pair of Briefs (with Joan Sims), Doctor in Distress (with Dennis Price) and I've Gotta Horse (with Billy Fury). On stage, Amanda played leading ladies in a host of West End productions including She Loves Me, Cabaret, Hobson's Choice, Absurd Person Singular, Stepping Out and Private Lives.
Of course we all know her best these days for her long stint playing the wonderful Alma in Coronation Street. Amanda first appeared in the Street in guest spots as the cafe owner in 1981 and 1982 before returning on a permanent basis from late 1988. She would play the role until the character's death from cancer in June 2001. Alma featured in some memorable storylines which included marrying Mike Baldwin, being kidnapped by Don Brennan and being romanced by Ken Barlow. She also had wonderfully strong female friendships with the likes of Audrey, Gail and Hayley. Fourteen years after her last appearance she is still much-missed by fans.
Amanda has gone on to appear in the likes of Doctors, Bad Girls, Holby City and most recently Benidorm with her former Corrie co-star Sherrie Hewson. Amanda has also become a regular on the pantomime circuit.
Amanda married her longterm partner Hilary Bonner at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2014.
Whatever she is up to today, I hope Amanda has a terrific birthday!
You can read Glenda Young's blog post about Amanda's autobiography here
You can read about my meeting with Amanda at the London Film Convention here
Amanda shot a short film, Tea For Two last year. You can read my exclusive review of the film here