Jean Alexander, who played Hilda Ogden
Coronation Street actress Jean Alexander – famous for her headscarf and curlers in the role of Hilda Ogden -has had her ashes scattered at a beauty spot.
The soap star died on October 14 last year just three days after her 90th birthday.
This year the family lost her beloved brother Kenneth Hodgkinson at the age of 92, and it prompted the family to lay them both to rest together.
A world away from the cobbled streets of the show that gave her fame, Jean Alexander’s ashes have been scattered near Grasmere in the Lake District – a spot where the ashes of Kenneth’s late wife Cynthia were laid.
Kenneth’s daughter Sonia Hearld, 65, told the Daily Mirror: ‘We spent many happy holidays there as kids. It has happy memories. The family know it, so it is a good place.
‘Jean loved going up there. While she was not a great top of the hills walker, she did love pottering around and seeing the scenery.
‘It just seemed the most suitable thing to do. It seemed to be a nice place, a quiet place.’
The actress spent 23 years on the soap as the archetypal working class Northern woman.
The character was hard-edged busybody but furiously house-proud, particularly of the flying duck ornaments which adorned a mural – or ‘muriel’, as Hilda told guests – in her front room.
Jean passed away peacefully in her hospital bed after being admitted to hospital.
A world away from the cobbled streets of the show that gave her fame, Jean Alexander’s ashes have been scattered near Grasmere in the Lake District (pictured) – a spot where the ashes of Kenneth’s late wife Cynthia were laid
Hilda was a hard-edged busybody but furiously house-proud, particularly of the flying duck ornaments which adorned a mural – or ‘muriel’, as Hilda told guests – in her front room
Hilda broke down at the sight of her late husband’s abandoned spectacles, leaving viewers in tears themselves
‘She always had her hair tied up ready – in case. All she had to do was whip the curlers out and give it a flick up with the comb,’ Jean said
Members of the Coronation Street cast tap dancing to keep fit in this 1970s photo. Jean is second left alongside Julie Goodyear, who played Bet Lynch, on the far right
Famed for her catchphrase ‘Ta-ra, chuck’, pub cleaner Hilda Ogden was unexpectedly taken to the nation’s heart.
A thorny relationship with husband Stan Ogden, played by Bernard Youens, helped the characters go down in British television history.
After Stan’s on-screen funeral – following Youens’ death from a heart attack in 1984 – Jean departed from the normal comic nature of her role.
Hilda broke down at the sight of her late husband’s abandoned spectacles, leaving viewers in tears themselves.
Liverpool-born Jean took her inspiration for the character’s costume from wartime munitions workers in her home city.
‘She always had her hair tied up ready – in case. All she had to do was whip the curlers out and give it a flick up with the comb,’ she said.
Jean (far right) passed away peacefully in her hospital bed after being admitted to hospital on Tuesday
Coronation Street at Christmas 1984. Lest to right – Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear), Hilda Ogden (Jean Alexander) and Betty Turpin (Betty Driver)
Jean was discharged from hospital and allowed back to her care home, where she had lived since 2014 after suffering a minor stroke
Jean Alexander as Hilda Odgen on Coronation Street – with her trademark curlers – holding up Rommel the cat during an episode in 1986
‘She never did go anywhere that was worth going to – but that’s where I got the idea from.’
Jean insisted in an interview with the Manchester Evening News that she would not return to Coronation Street because ‘life and attitudes have changed’.
MOST MEMORABLE QUOTES FROM ONE OF TV’S FEISTIEST CHARACTERS HILDA OGDEN
‘Woman, Stanley. Woman.’ Hilda’s response when her husband asks what her lipstick tastes of after the couple share a clinch on their second honeymoon.
‘We are a family of professional cleaners, which puts us higher up in Godliness than some folk I could name.’ after a row with Rovers landlady Annie Walker.
‘I wouldn’t give them to a working man, but seeing as you don’t fall under that category there’s no problem is there? Now get them ate.’ Hilda, when Stanley objects to pilchards for tea.
‘You great, big, fat lump of human uselessness.’ Hilda to Stanley.
‘Elsie Tanner’s ’eart is where a fella’s wallet is – and the bigger the wallet, the more ’eart she’s got.’ Hilda on Corrie’s Elsie Tanner.
She said: ‘I know the programme tries to reflect life and in Hilda’s time it was more simple and cosy.
‘Today, life and attitudes have changed and permissiveness has crept up on us. So now it is all about who’s sleeping with whom.
‘The programme may reflect life, but equally young people are being influenced by what they see in it.
‘Even girls of 13 think they absolutely must have boyfriends, otherwise people will think they aren’t normal.’
She added that she wished there was more fun on the Street, and criticised modern story-lines for being too dragged out.
‘I’m glad I was there in those earlier, more gentle years,’ she said.
‘I enjoyed my time as Hilda and it is lovely that viewers still remember her with such affection.’
Almost 20 years after quitting Coronation Street, Jean was still so fondly remembered that she was voted the nation’s favourite soap star.
After winning the poll, she said: ‘It’s unbelievable that people are still so fond of Hilda.
‘We had so many wonderful individual characters when I was in the show, Ena Sharples and Elsie Tanner come to mind, so to be picked out from amongst that crew is very, very flattering.’
Her famous fans included Sir Michael Parkinson, writer Willis Hall, former Poet Laureate John Betjeman and the late Russell Harty, who formed themselves into the British League for Hilda Ogden.
Her response was typical, saying: ‘I just couldn’t see myself stood on a pedestal cast in bronze.
‘Knowing my luck, the Southport seagulls would find me and do their worst, as they have done before – usually when I have just washed my hair.’
Born in Toxteth, Liverpool, she started her acting career in 1949 and made her television debut in the police series Z-Cars.
She first appeared in Coronation Street in 1961 as landlady Mrs Webb, returning three years later as Hilda, and went on to win a Royal Television Society Award in 1985 for the role.
Jean also played Aunty Wainwright, the money-grabbing local junk shop owner, on the long-running sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, from 1988 to 2010.
The actress had made a good recovery from a stroke in 2014, with Jean telling her fans ‘not to worry’ and that she was ‘fit and well.’
She added at the time: ‘Thank you to everyone for all the goodwill messages, I was very touched but there is still life in the old dog yet.
‘I’ve spent my career playing old ladies – now I am one.’
Tributes poured in from social media, with current Coronation Street stars and long-time fans leaving heart-warming comments for the woman they remember as Hilda Ogden
Jean at the BAFTA awards at London’s Drury Lane in April 2002 (right) and attending the Coronation Street 40th anniversary party (right)
‘Former scriptwriter and archivist Daran Little wrote: ‘Very sad to hear of the passing of Jean Alexander, a wonderful actress and a true friend. Tara chuck.’ Pictured is Jean at the BAFTAs
HOW HILDA OGDEN BECAME ONE OF CORRIES BEST LOVED CHARACTERS
Jean played Rover’s Return cleaner Hilda Ogden from 1964 to 1987
Jean Alexander played Rover’s Return cleaner Hilda Ogden from 1964 to 1987, during which time she became one of the most-loved characters the soap has ever had.
She was voted the greatest TV character of all time in a Radio Times poll and her trademark headscarf and curlers made her one of the most recognisable, too.
While Hilda was often used to bring light relief to the soap, the moment she cried over the sight of her dead husband’s glasses is thought by some to be one of the most powerful moments in soap history.
Hilda had an on-screen husband called Stan, played by Bernard Youens, and the pair were known for their bickering.
But underneath the surface tension was a rock-solid marriage that never wavered.
A survey by NTL: Home granted them the accolade of Britain’s top romantic TV couple in 2002.