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Knox as Rita Tanner
30 September 1933
Oldham, Lancashire, England
|Spouse(s)||Denis Mullaney (m. 1954–77)
John Knox (m. 1977–94)
|Children||John (b. 1957)
Amanda (b. 1962)
Maxine (b. 1970)
Knox left school at 15 and worked as a telegraphist in the Post Office, learning shorthand, typing and had to pass Civil Service exams. She also worked in offices, shops and a factory. During this time she took part in amateur theatre until Carl Paulson, who ran Oldham Rep, asked her to appear in The Boyfriend, which was her professional stage debut. But she wasn't paid a penny for some considerable time during her 12-year spell there learning her craft.
Knox later appeared in television programmes such as Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width, George and the Dragon and A Family at War, as well as doing a stint in Emergency – Ward 10. She also had a small role as a dancer in the 1969 musical remake of Goodbye, Mr. Chips and did anything needed from announcer to stooge alongside several of the UK's top comedians for BBC radio's Comedy Half Hour.
She first played the role of Rita on Coronation Street in December 1964, when she appeared for only one episode. She returned in 1972 as Rita Bates, the common-law wife of Harry Bates, and in the decades since then the character has been married three times, to Len Fairclough, Ted Sullivan and Dennis Tanner. She is currently known as Rita Tanner.
Knox, like her co-star Eileen Derbyshire who plays Emily Bishop, shuns publicity and is a very private actress, although she has given a few interviews for Coronation Street documentaries and has appeared at some television awards shows. In November 2010 she gave a rare interview on Paul O'Grady Live on ITV, and then in the next month appeared in a number of shows related to Coronation Street's 50th Anniversary. In 1973, Knox cut an LP for Philips Records.
Knox, as character Rita Tanner, has been involved in Coronation Street's 50th anniversary week, where she was trapped for some time under the debris of the Kabin following the tram crash. She survived and was taken to hospital with Emily who went with her to keep her company.
Awards and honours
In 1989 she won the TV Times award for "Best Actress" following her involvement in the dramatic Alan Bradley storyline. In 1989 she won the Oracle Teletext "Best Actress" award for her part in the Alan Bradley storyline.
She won the "Best On-screen Partnership" award (jointly with Malcolm Hebden) at The British Soap Awards in May 2006 for her role as Rita Sullivan and in 2004 she won "The Life Time Achievement Award" for her services to Coronation Street.
Barbara has been married twice. She married Denis Mullaney in 1954. The couple had three children; John (born 1957), Amanda (born 1962) and Maxine (born 1970). They later divorced in 1977 when she married John Knox. The couple then divorced in 1994. Currently, she is not married.
She saus that her hobbies are gardening & tapestry.
- The London Gazette: . 12 June 2010.