The Street’s Style Icons

As national TV treasure Coronation Street prepares to celebrating its 50th anniversary with this evening's hotly-anticipated live episode (Who lives? Who dies? We just can't wait to find out), we mark the occasion with a look back at the glamorous - and often gregarious - characters that have graced Corrie's cobbled street over the years...

  • Elsie Tanner

    The soap’s original femme fatale strode the cobbles from the very first episode. With her curve-hugging skirts, fitted knits, belted macs, up-do and fondness for gin, she was like an earthy Liz Taylor or a Mad Men character relocated to Manchester. In the mid-70s, Prime Minister James Callaghan called her “the sexiest thing on television”. Imagine David Cameron saying that about Tina or Carla today.

    Picture credit: Rex Features

  • Bet Lynch

    The heir to Elsie Tanner’s alpha female throne, busty barmaid-turned-businesswoman Bet was all leather, faux-fur, bling and a platinum blonde beehive – plus of course, her iconic leopard skin and other animal prints. Very trashy-sexy 70s rock.

    Picture credit: Rex Features

  • Alma Sedgewick

    The second of actress Amanda Barrie’s iconic roles, following her famous turn as the Egyptian queen in Carry On Cleo. Alma’s style signatures were heavy mascara and very 80s “popped” shirt collars. Died in 2001 from cervical cancer, a storyline that resulted in a significant increase in smear testing in the UK.

    Picture credit: Rex Features

  • Deirdre Barlow

    Think Deirdre and you think two things: “Free the Weatherfield One” and, of course, glasses. Her outsized statement spectacles were bang on-trend in the 70s (very Elton John) and she was nicknamed "Miss Sexy Spex". She even sparked an unwitting array of tributes in recent years as super-sized sunnies became the A-list accessory of choice. Sadly, Deirdre herself now opts for smaller frames.

    Picture credit: Rex Features

  • Phyllis Pearce

    Weatherfield’s answer to Bea from The Golden Girls, Phyllis had a gravelly voice and a trademark rinse that switched from purple to blue in the same way as Mrs Slocombe’s from Are You Being Served? OK, supermodel Kristen McMenemy she isn't, but Phyllis is nailing a serious hair trend for kaleidoscope hair colour right now. Just ask the cool super-stylists at east London’s Bleach salon, who offer hair colouring in every shade of the rainbow.

    Picture credit: Rex Features

  • Gail Platt

    With hairdresser Audrey for a mother, you’d think Gail would have avoided her various hair horrors over the years. But back in the 70s, era of Farah Fawcett Majors, her flicky cascading hair and flared denim was the epitome of style.

    Picture credit: Rex Features

  • Raquel Watts

    The soap’s darling during the 90s first appeared as a model, entering the Miss Bettabuys beauty contest and eventually moving to London to seek fashion stardom. She returned to Weatherfield older, wiser and became a businesswoman rather than “a walking Wonderbra”, as she was once cruelly nicknamed.

    Picture credit: Rex Features

  • Liz McDonald

    The current queen of the Rover’s Return has always been notorious for her dress sense, from her original flame-red curls to her miniskirts, cougar-like dresses and legendary black zig-zag necklace. Actress Beverley Callard has also spent a lot of time in leotards, releasing a string of scarily successful aerobics videos.

    Picture credit: Rex Features

  • Carla Connor

    Corrie’s true 21st century woman, factory boss Carla looks good, works hard, plays hard – and right now, drinks a tad too hard. She’s also got great glossy hair, a shoe collection to die for and combines designer pieces with the occasional high street item from the likes of Karen Millen or All Saints.

    The live, one-hour installment of Coronation Street airs on ITV1 tonight at 8pm.

    Picture credits: Rex Features