Coronation Street actress Anita Carey dies aged 75

Coronation Street and Doctors star Anita Carey has died aged 75, her agent has confirmed.

The TV comedy actress turned to soap acting in 1978 when she was offered the role of Brenda Summers, a victim of domestic violence, on Coronation Street before returning to the cobbles 18 years later to play Joyce Smedley, the debt-laden mother of Judy Mallett (Gaynor Faye).

On Monday, agent Katie Threlfall confirmed Carey had died at the age of 75.

Yorkshire-born Carey was the first to film her exit from the ITV soap in 1997, amid a series of action-packed farewells following a headline-hitting “cast cull” by new producer Brian Park in a bid to boost viewing figures, it was reported at the time.

In 1990 she returned to sitcom starring in A Kind Of Living, before returning to soap in 2007, playing Vivien March on BBC One’s Doctors for two years.

Former Doctors director Steve Hughes, who worked on the show between 2005 and 2010, said on Twitter: “Sad to hear that Anita Carey has passed. I really enjoyed working with her on Doctors back in the day.”

Meanwhile, Doctors writer Roland Moore tweeted: “Saddened to hear about Anita Carey. She was a joy to write for as Vivien on Doctors and it was great to meet her once at the soap awards.”

Carey established herself in TV comedy playing Susan Chambers in Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? in 1973, the same year she met fellow actor Mark Wing-Davey while she was playing Miss Heasman in the touring theatre show Butley.

A year later the couple both appeared in a Crucible Theatre production of The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, before Carey starred in the West End production of Hobson’s Choice.

In the following years she appeared in sketch show One-Upmanship, based on Stephen Potter’s spoof self-help books, as well as comedy-drama Beryl’s Lot playing one of the on-screen children of actress Carmel McSharry.

Carey also starred in John Finch’s drama The Spoils Of War playing character Martha Blaze, before appearing as devoted wife of a Labour MP Joyce Gould in ITV’s 1986 adaptation of Jeffrey Archer’s novel First Among Equals.

Carey took on countless TV character roles before moving to New York after Wing-Davey, who she married in 2002 and had become a successful director in the US, became chairman of the graduate acting programme at New York University in 2008.