|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Debbie Rush|
|First appearance||14 November 2008|
|Introduced by||Kim Crowther|
|Home||6 Coronation Street|
Anna Windass is a fictional character in the UK television ITV soap opera, Coronation Street. Portrayed by actress Debbie Rush, the character first appeared onscreen during the episode airing on 14 November 2008.
Creation and casting
The character of Anna was created as part of a new family unit that new producer Kim Crowther was introducing to the soap opera, consisting of a mother, father, son and uncle. They were originally billed as a storyline device for established character David Platt. An ITV spokesperson said of the character and her onscreen family: "The Windass family are very rough and ready, always ducking and diving. Early on they get involved with David Platt when he helps to fit a new kitchen in the Windass family home. However, Anna thinks the work is shoddy and refuses to pay for it. David goes round, rips out the kitchen and sets fire to it outside the family’s house." Rush said of their entrance and choice of surname for the family: "The Windasses are a very close family, who are just about on the wrong side of the law, but they mean well. And yes, I am prepared for some of the things people might shout at me in the street because of the name!" The character was originally called Donna Windass but was changed last minute to Anna Windass after a series of name changes to all the members of the family since their inception, but before appearing onscreen.
Auditions were held for the part of Anna, with actress Debbie Rush going on to get the part over a number of highly-rated actors. Of this Rush said: "I went for the casting a few months ago and then was called back for the screen test. When I got the part I couldn’t believe it, I was thrilled to bits. I watched Corrie all the time growing up and all the family are tuning in now that I’m going to be in it. It’s surreal, because the cast and characters are already part of your life just from watching it."
The character of Anna has been seen to differ from the rest of her family in terms of personality traits that are not present in the others. This is because she does not approve of the continuous line of scams her husband pulls, as well as the life of crime Len and Gary indulge in. Anna is often described as the only nice Windass.
Anna first appears onscreen with her boyfriend Eddie (Steve Huison) when they are involved in a storyline in which they refuse to pay Joe McIntyre (Reece Dinsdale) for a kitchen refit, which then sees David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd) trying to force them to pay up, after they won't he makes a series of threats, which results in David, Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan) and Graeme Proctor (Craig Gazey) setting fire to the Windasses' kitchen. In a storyline which would cement the feud between the Platt and Windass families, the characters are introduced to the helm of the show, on 8 December 2008, Anna moves into Number 6 Coronation Street with the rest of her family. She has a heart-to-heart with new neighbour Gail Platt (Helen Worth) in order to make peace as she wants a fresh start in Coronation Street even though the rest of their families are feuding and convinces Eddie to make peace with Gail's partner Joe. This ends badly at Christmas, as Gail's invitation for the Windasses to stop in for dinner soon leads to Joe throwing food at them and forcing them out of the house.
As the New Year begins, Anna is dismayed as she senses Eddie sinking back into his con artist ways and she always objects to them as her character shows her desire to live a free life without having to steal and scrounge money from society, and as the feud between her son Gary (Mikey North) and David Platt grows more volatile.
In March 2009, she is relieved when Gary is cleared of assaulting David two months previously, during the period before the trial, Anna is seen making a series of attempts to influence characters Gail and Tina into making David change his mind about the charges. She is also seen breaking down on number of occasions trying to hold her family together.
In April 2009, Roy Cropper (David Neilson) gives Anna a job working in the cafe. Initially his wife Hayley (Julie Hesmondhalgh) is skeptical but is impressed by Anna's work ethic and she continues working there. Hayley also takes Anna's side when Eddie steals and poses as Roy in a scam to receive free alcohol from the cash-and-carry.
Anna is dismayed in 2010 when Gary decides that he wants to join the Army. Fearing for his life on the frontline, she eventually comes to terms with his career decision. However, Anna is later dismayed when Gary is reported as being AWOL, after she comforts him over his secret fears he returns to duty.
2010 also sees Anna and Eddie looking into adopting a child. They both attend meetings to do with adopting (which Becky (Katherine Kelly) and Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) also go to) and have a meeting with a social worker at their home. Anna's brother's son Rory comes to stay while his parents went on holiday, Eddie is seen pushing Rory round in a pram, which makes Becky very upset that Anna and Eddie have been given a child while her and Steve have not. It is later revealed that Rory is Anna's nephew after a heated debate with the social worker.
In early 2011, young Faye Butler (Ellie Leach) comes to stay with Anna and Eddie, with a view towards them both becoming her foster parents. Faye is quite a troubled young girl and this causes a rift to form between Anna and Eddie as he becomes discouraged with fostering. Anna is adamant that she will support Faye, particularly after her biological mother is found dead following a drug overdose. Eddie breaks the tragic news in quite a clumsy way to Faye and this angers Anna a great deal. Eventually, Eddie issues Anna with an ultimatum, to choose between him and Faye. Anna chooses Faye and Eddie moves to Germany as a result.
After Eddie's departure, Anna forges a close friendship with builder Owen Armstrong (Ian Puleston-Davies), whose daughter Izzy (Cherylee Houston) is dating Gary. Anna is dismayed when she discovers that her landlord Jerry Morton (Michael Starke) is planning on selling No. 6. Unable to afford buying the house, she is worried as Faye has finally found stability in her new home. Owen, much to Anna's surprise, buys the house and becomes her new landlord. This brings them closer together, much to Faye's jealousy as she fears that Owen will take Anna away from her. Their relationship goes well, and Anna supports Owen after he discovers his sixteen year old daughter Katy (Georgia May Foote) is pregnant and later helps her give birth to her son Joseph on Christmas Eve 2011. Owen and Anna's relationship is later tested, after Anna goes away to visit her ill brother; Owen looks after Faye, and after discovering that Faye had poisoned the fish he had bought for Anna's garden, slapped her. Faye locked herself in her room, and upon Anna's return - the couple split, with Anna unable to forgive Owen for hitting Faye. Anna's son Gary and Owen's daughter Izzy later discover that Izzy is pregnant, the pair are overjoyed but Izzy later miscarries. Due to her disability, they approach Izzy's younger sister Katy about being a surrogate mother for them, and whilst supporting Gary though the ordeal - she and Owen get back together properly, after months of being on/off. Izzy later decides she cannot put her sister through the ordeal and Owen enlists his employee Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan) to become the surrogate, and the family discover that the implantation has worked and Tina is pregnant in December 2012.
Anna is stunned to learn that Gary has developed a crush on Tina after discovering he spent £200 on her late father's wedding ring at a pawn shop after it was stolen. Anna keeps this a secret, but Gary takes things too far when he tries to kiss Tina, but she rejects him. Izzy learns of this and Tina goes into premature labour. Tina gives birth to Gary and Izzy's baby son, "Jake", but Izzy does not want Gary to see him because of his betrayal. After witnessing Gary and Izzy's unstable relationship, Tina decides she wants to keep the baby and raise him with her boyfriend, Tommy Duckworth (Chris Fountain). This leads to Anna insulting Tina on numerous occasions. When Gary confides in Anna about how long a court battle could take to get the baby back, Anna storms into The Rovers and slaps a shocked Tina for taking "Jake', renamed Joe. Izzy and Gary are terrified that Tina will report Anna to Social Services, but she doesn't. Later, Izzy and Gary decide to give Joe up to Tina because they find it unfair how he is being treated like this.
Anna is also stressed when Faye decides to go and live with her biological father, Tim Metcalfe (Joe Duttine). When Anna bans Faye from seeing Tim, she lies to school headmaster Brian Packham (Peter Gunn), telling him that Anna beats her at home. Social workers Nicola Waite (Maxine Burth) and Stephen Bowyer (Dana Haqjoo) arrive to question Anna, and they then question Faye, who reveals that Anna has never hit her. Anna then allows Faye to move in with Tim, but this causes an emotional Anna to break down in Owen's arms. When Tim goes on a trip to Newcastle to continue with his work, Faye tells him that she will be stopping with Anna and Owen, but she instead stops at Tim's flat on her own. Faye is later caught stealing at Dev Alahan's (Jimmi Harkishin) corner shop by Mary Taylor (Patti Clare) and Sophie Webster (Brooke Vincent). Mary and Sophie reveal this to Owen, who tells Anna. Anna feeds a starving Faye and gives her a shower, before angrily confronting Tim on his doorstep about leaving Faye home alone. Tim begins a relationship with Sally Webster (Sally Dynevor), causing friction between her and Anna. Anna is annoyed when Tim and Sally are constantly buying new things that impress Faye. Sally decides to have a garden party on the same day that Anna is planning on having a barbecue, which leads to further friction and the guests being torn on which barbecue to attend, especially Roy and Hayley, as Sally is a close friend and Anna is their employee. When Anna runs out of tomato ketchup, she uses Sally's without permission, leading to a physical fight as Anna is on one side of the fence and Sally is on the other. The fight ends in disaster, however, when Sally and Anna go flying into Anna's back garden with the fence, smashed up and ruined.
Kris Green of media website Digital Spy commented that Anna and the Windass family had 'settled in so well, in such a short space of time'. Actor Mikey North attributed their success as characters to a combination of good writing and prominent plotlines received in a relatively short time period. Ben Ashford of The Sun newspaper compared the Windass family to the real life fraudsters the Peters family, who claimed a range of illnesses including agoraphobia and alcoholism and swindled state handouts, branding both families 'scroungers'.
Grace Dent of The Guardian has said that she likes the character of Anna, pointing out her redeeming personality traits: "Chief apologist for all of these people is Anna Windass, Eddie's wife and Gary's mum, who is so surprisingly sweet and non-abrasive that she manages to keep her entire clan on the right side of likable just through hapless handwringing alone." going onto say "I rather like Anna, although Gail Platt isn't a fan. I was expecting another Cilla Battersby, but instead she's more Emily Bishop in a sea-green velour fake Juicy Couture and Asda slippers. Anna knows that, children-wise, her and Gail have lots in common and they'd work better as a team than at war." Tony Stewart of The Mirror also describes Anna's character as a scrounger. MSN branded Anna and her family as chavs and suggested they would make the perfect guests for the Jeremy Kyle show. Simon Swift of Soaplife magazine stated that at first, he couldn't help feeling that Anna and her clan are a bit too much like original neighbours-from-hell the Battersbys.
In 2009 Ruth Deller of entertainment website Lowculture who runs a monthly feature of the most popular and unpopular soap opera characters, profiled the Windasses, adding that Anna is the main reason to why they were initially unpopular, stating: "The Windass family’s introduction has not gone down too well, and Donna (sic) seems to be the prime target for the vitriol against them. Perhaps they can be redeemed a la the Jacksons in EE or the Timminses in Neighbours, or perhaps they’ll just leave…" Kate White from Inside Soap said that Anna and Owen were a "great match". She could not understand why Anna could not just forgive Owen because she had with all of Eddie's crimes.
- Kris Green (124 September 2008). "Corrie's Windass clan and other cast changes". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
- "Debbie gets fame rush". Heywood Advertiser (M.E.N. Media). 20 November 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
- Blog Editor (28 October 2008). "Meet Anna Windass". Corrieblog. Archived from the original on 25 June 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
- Glendinning, Amy (22 October 2008). "Starring Coronation Street role for mum-of-three". Heywood Advertiser (M.E.N. Media). Retrieved 13 June 2009.
- Webmaster (23 February 2009). "Emmerdale, Coronation Street and EastEnders". The Mirror. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
- Dent, Grace (21 February 2009). "Grace Dent's world of lather". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 13 June 2009.
- Webmaster (4 December 2008). "Coronation Street - Trouble erupts between the Platts and Windasses". My Park Magazine. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
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- Ben Ashford (5 February 2009). "Real Windass family milking us". The Sun. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
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- Deller, Ruth (28 February 2009). "Soapstar Superstars: February". Lowculture. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
- White, Kate (14–20 April 2012). "Inside... Out!". Inside Soap (Hearst Magazines UK) (15): 98.