Corrie and Doctors star Anita Carey dies aged 77 following breast cancer battle

Anita Carey at The British Soap Awards in 2009 when
EastEnders won (ITV/Shutterstock)
Soap star Anita Carey has died aged 75. (ITV/Shutterstock) (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

Soap star Anita Carey has died at the age of 77, following a battle with breast cancer.

The actor - best known for playing Vivien March in BBC daytime soap Doctors - had been diagnosed with cancer in 2010.

Carey died from breast cancer on 19, July 2023 the Guardian has reported, after battling the disease for 13 years.

Read more: Doctors fans upset as BBC show taken off air until September

She is survived by her actor turned-director husband Mark Wing-Davey, whom she married in 2002, and their daughters, Zanna and Isabella.

Carey starred twice in Coronation Street, first in 1978 as Brenda Summers, a woman who was experiencing domestic violence and was befriended by Emily Bishop.

Samantha Failsworth [Tina Hobley], Tricia Armstrong [Tracy Brabin], Joyce Smedley [Anita Carey] in Coronation Street (ITV/Shutterstock)
Anita Carey (far right) as Joyce Smedley in Coronation Street (ITV/Shutterstock) (ITV/Shutterstock)

She revealed at the time she had researched the role by talking to women at a Manchester refuge, saying: “I’ve done so much comedy on television that I was anxious to get a really meaty dramatic role. The social relevance of the part was a big challenge. It made me think hard about battered wives.”

Carey then returned as Joyce Smedley in the ITV soap between 1996 and 1997, the mother of Gaynor Faye's character Judy Mallett.

She played receptionist Vivien March in BBC daytime soap Doctors between 2007 and 2009.

During that time she won the British Soap Award for Best Dramatic Performance for a storyline in which her character was raped. The scenes also won Best Storyline for Doctors that same year in 2009.

The actor of stage and screen was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire and began performing in a drama club in Bradford as a child before training at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London between 1967 and 1970.

Carey began her acting career in comedy, appearing in several TV shows in the early 70s including hit sitcom Whatever Happens To The Likely Lads.

Anita Carey, Richard Griffiths and Tim Healy in 'A Kind of Living' (ITV/Shutterstock)
Anita Carey, Richard Griffiths and Tim Healy in A Kind of Living. (ITV/Shutterstock) (ITV/Shutterstock)

She also appeared in 1980s drama The Spoils of War and alongside Richard Griffiths in 1989 comedy A Kind of Living.

Carey has also appeared in Casualty, Midsomer Murders and Last Of The Summer Wine, among numerous UK TV roles.

Her husband, The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy star Wing-Davey, became a successful director in the US and they moved to live in New York.

Read more: British Soap Awards: The fight for Best Soap over the years

Carey continued to work after her cancer diagnosis, appearing on stage in Washington and New York.

Watch: The latest soap news from Coronation Street