From her first entertainment role in 1968 to her role as Evelyn Plummer in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street, Maureen Lipman has had a long and successful career.
Express.co.uk looks inside Maureen’s life, including her husband’s tragic death, a Gogglebox appearance, and her conflict with Helen Mirren.
Life before Coronation Street
In 1968, Maureen made her acting debut in Up the Junction as Sylvie. For the next two years, she played a number of small roles.
She played Gloria in Casanova from 1973, Sarah Lewis in Crown Court from 1974, and Jane Lucas from 1979 to 1981 in Agony.
Maureen played Barbara Bostock in Captain Jack in 1999, and she played Aunt Eller in Oklahoma! in 1999.
She later went on to play The Wire in Doctor Who in 2006, Irene Spencer in Ladies of Letters from 2009 to 2010, Bonnie Walters in Holby City from 2011 to 2012, and Mags Dormer in Midsomer Murders from 2012 to present.
Prior to taking on the role of Evelyn Plummer, Maureen appeared in six episodes of the 2002 television series Lillian Spencer.
She was hired as the Rovers Return’s temporary manager and introduced as an old friend of Fred Elliot (played by John Savident).
Bartenders Shelley Unwin (Sally Lindsay) and Geena Gregory (Jennifer James) were instructed by Lillian to address her as “Mrs. Spencer”.
She expelled Lillian from The Kabin on her first day, after Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden) and Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox) had done the same.
When publican Roger Fairbanks called to offer Lillian a better job at his coaching inn in Marple shortly after annoying nearly all the residents of Weatherfield in a short period of time, the family immediately packed up and left Weatherfield.
Later, in 2018, Maureen made a comeback to the soap opera as the battle-axe grandmother of Tyrone Dobbs (Alan Halsall).
She is currently at odds with Cassie Plummer (Claire Sweeney), her granddaughter Hope Dobbs (Isabella Flanagan), and Cassie’s recent relapse.
Tyrone’s mother is trying to ruin their lives, and Evelyn is desperately trying to convince him not to fall for it.
Marriages and heartbreaking loss
Maureen has been married twice. Her first husband, Jack Rosenthal, wrote 250 episodes of Coronation Street for the show.
Jack tragically passed away in 2004, and Maureen later wed Guido Castro, her most recent husband.
Guido spent 13 years with the businessman before passing away in 2021 as a result of a coronavirus battle that left him “weaker.”
Guido, 84, caught the virus days after getting a dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the celebrity, who also claimed that he died from a form of Parkinson’s Disease.
During a Gogglebox episode, she discussed his passing and said: “He got Covid – it wasn’t Covid that killed him but it weakened him horribly.
“We don’t know when, how, or if he already had it when he received the vaccine. It wasn’t a wise course of action.
“You can’t put into words how it feels to be unable to touch someone while wearing this protective equipment and he is wearing that, and there is a screen where you can see them deteriorating in real life but you are powerless to intervene,” the author writes.
In the end, the daughters and I entered through a French window and sat down while wearing masks, gloves, and pinnies.
Recently, Maureen brought her “gentleman friend” David to the National Television Awards ceremony and said the two will “see where it goes” in a Sunday Express interview.
Helen Mirren feud
Maureen is renowned for her candid opinions, just like her on-screen persona Evelyn Plummer, which most recently involved Helen Mirren.
Helen Mirren’s selection to play former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir has recently drawn criticism from the Corrie star.
In an interview with The Jewish Chronicle, Maureen expressed her discomfort at the prospect of Mirren playing Meir due to the fact that she is not Jewish.
“I disagree with that because the character’s Jewishness is so essential. She will undoubtedly be fantastic, but Ben Kingsley could never play Nelson Mandela.
You simply couldn’t go there. Perhaps you should put together some sort of panel to decide what is and is not acceptable.
On Good Morning Britain, Maureen added: “I’ve nothing against Helen playing [her] during her discussion of her problems.
“My question is, should the casting directors have looked first—and maybe they did—at Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson, or even Tracey Ullman, who is a brilliant actress?”
On the star-studded spin-off of the popular Channel 4 program, Maureen co-starred with This Morning star and Royal Correspondent Gyles Brandreth.
Again, Maureen’s direct remarks were evident throughout her time on the show, and Gyles and Maureen’s close friendship was a favorite among viewers.
Maureen, however, declared her departure from the program in 2021 after criticizing its editing.
“I’ve seen all the male tackle that I need to see for this lifetime, to be honest, I really have,” she said when she joined the Loose Women panel in November 2021.
“I’ve outgrown my phase of saying, ‘Oh, get it off!’ in a shocked voice. Gyles absolutely adores it, and while we had a great time, none of the clever things we said had any impact.
Becoming a Dame
Maureen received the distinction from the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle in 2021, capping a 50-year career that saw her rise to the position of first dame of Coronation Street.
When she was informed of the choice, she said it was the “biggest secret of my life for two painful months.”
Afterward, she remarked: “It’s been a long time coming because I first learned about it in 2020 and was subsequently unable to claim it.
The coat you purchased consequently becomes something you don’t want to wear. What the heck do I wear on my head at that point?
Finally, I asked Coronation Street if they had any fascinators in their wardrobe, and they gave me seven.
She had received the title of dame commander for her contributions to entertainment, charity, and the arts.