|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Debbie Rush|
|First appearance||Episode 6947 |
14 November 2008
|Last appearance||Episode 9471 |
1 June 2018
|Introduced by||Kim Crowther (2008)|
Kate Oates (2018)
Anna Windass is a fictional character from the ITV soap opera Coronation Street, portrayed by Debbie Rush. The character was introduced in the episode first broadcast on 14 November 2008. Rush announced her decision to leave the series in July 2017 and Anna departed in the episode first broadcast on 22 January 2018. She appeared in two further episodes first broadcast on 31 May to 1 June 2018.
Anna's storylines have included: a rocky relationship to her long-term partner, Eddie Windass (Steve Huison); feuds with the Platt family, Tim Metcalfe (Joe Duttine) and Sally Webster (Sally Dynevor); her wayward son Gary Windass's (Mikey North) decision to enrol into the army; her turbulent relationship with Owen Armstrong (Ian Puleston-Davies); adopting Faye Butler (Ellie Leach), who later alleges Anna is abusing her; being blackmailed by Pat Phelan (Connor McIntyre) into having sex with him; facing bankruptcy following the end of her relationship with Owen; Faye's underage pregnancy; a relationship with Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell); being severely burnt following a car explosion; being framed for a crime she did not commit and killing Pat Phelan.
Anna first appears on screen with her long-term boyfriend Eddie (Steve Huison) when they refuse to pay Joe McIntyre (Reece Dinsdale) for a kitchen refit. David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd) then tries to force them to pay but after they refuse, he makes a number of threats, resulting in David, Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan) and Graeme Proctor (Craig Gazey) setting fire to the Windasses' kitchen.
The Windass family move into No. 6 Coronation Street with the rest of her family. She has a heart-to-heart with new neighbour Gail Platt (Helen Worth) to make peace as she wants a fresh start in Coronation Street even though 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 and Anna attempts to influence Gail and Tina to make David drop the charges. She is also seen breaking down on a number of occasions, trying to hold her family together.
In April 2009, Roy Cropper (David Neilson) gives Anna a job in the café. Initially, Roy's wife Hayley (Julie Hesmondhalgh) is sceptical but is impressed by Anna's work ethic and she continues to work 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 front line, 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. Anna's nephew, Rory visits while his parents are on holiday. Eddie is seen pushing Rory round in a pram, upsetting Becky as she thinks that Anna and Eddie have been given a child.
In early 2011, young Faye Butler (Ellie Leach) comes to stay with Anna and Eddie, with a view towards them becoming her foster parents. Faye is quite a troubled young girl and this causes a rift 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. Eventually, Eddie issues Anna with an ultimatum: him or Faye. Anna chooses Faye and Eddie moves to Germany as a result.
After Eddie's departure, Anna gets close to 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 to sell No. 6. Unable to afford to buy 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, making Faye jealous as she fears that Owen will take Anna away from her. Their relationship goes well, and Anna supports Owen after he discovers his 16 year old daughter Katy (Georgia May Foote) is pregnant and later helps deliver her son Joseph on Christmas Eve 2011. Owen and Anna's relationship is later tested, after Anna goes away to visit her 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, and she and Owen reconcile. Izzy is told that Katy is not a suitable candidate for surrogacy as she is too young. Chesney, Katy's partner, also objects and Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan) offers to be surrogate instead, 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 bought her late father's wedding ring at a pawn shop after it was stolen. Anna keeps this 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 seeing Gary and Izzy argue, Tina decides 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 tells Anna how long it could take to get residency, Anna storms into The Rovers and slaps 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 not to fight Tina but Tommy, Rita and Tommy convince Tina to allow "Joe" to be raised by his biological parents.
Anna is also stressed when Faye decides to live with her biological father, Tim Metcalfe (Joe Duttine). When Anna bans Faye from seeing Tim, she lies to Brian Packham (Peter Gunn), telling him that Anna hits her at home. Social workers Nicola Waite (Maxine Burth) and Stephen Bowyer (Dana Haqjoo) arrive to question Anna and Faye, who reveals that Anna has never hit her. Anna allows Faye to move in with Tim, making Anna break down in Owen's arms. When Tim goes on a trip to Newcastle for work, Faye tells him that she will stay with Anna and Owen but stays at Tim's flat alone. Faye is later caught stealing from Dev Alahan's (Jimmi Harkishin) shop by Mary Taylor (Patti Clare) and Sophie Webster (Brooke Vincent). Mary and Sophie tell Owen and Anna. Anna feeds Faye and gives her a shower, before angrily confronting Tim 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.
Anna helps out at the Croppers' upon discovering that Hayley has been diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer. A few months later, Hayley collapses at home and is rushed to hospital. Anna does her best to look out for Roy but he accidentally spills the beans on Hayley's suicide wish, leaving Anna stunned. Roy is extremely guilty that he has confided in Anna about Hayley's privacy, and orders her not to say anything to anybody about it. When Roy is decorating his and Hayley's bedroom, Anna gets Owen and Gary to decorate it for him, so Roy is free to do as he likes. When Hayley returns home from hospital, she reveals to Anna that she does not like the wallpaper, but will pretend to for Roy's sake. Later that evening, Roy bumps into Anna on the street and tells her that he has told Hayley that he is fine with her suicide wish. He reveals to Anna that he feels he has lied to Hayley and betrayed her, and Anna does her best to comfort him.
Anna is weary when Faye brings her new friend Grace Piper (Ella-Grace Gregoire) home for tea. Grace seems lovely, and Anna falls her tactics when it is revealed that Grace is in fact a manipulative girl who uses Faye in her dangerous games. Grace and Faye cause havoc all over Coronation Street, but it isn't until the pair attack Simon Barlow (Alex Bain) that Anna loses her temper with Faye. After Simon's stepmother Leanne Tilsley (Jane Danson) has confronted Faye, Anna asks for the truth, but Faye keeps on telling her that she and Grace haven't done anything wrong. That night, Grace sends Faye a video of her attacking Simon, and it soon goes viral after she posts it onto the Internet. Mary, another victim of Grace and Faye's, sees the video first, and shows it to Simon's carer Tina. The video travels around the street, disgusting most of the residents. Simon is refusing to leave the house because he is so embarrassed that he was attacked by girls. Soon, Simon's headmaster, Brian, gets wind of what has happened to him and goes round to the Windass household, where he tells a terrified Faye that he will have to inform to police. A few days later, Anna and Owen accompany Faye to the police station and they see Grace with her mother, who clashes with Anna. When Faye is questioned, she tells the detective that Grace has been blackmailing her, saying that if she grasses her up, she will make sure that nobody at her school will like her. Anna is proud of Faye for her bravery.
Into the New Year, Anna supports Roy as Hayley's health deteriorates. On 20 January 2014, Anna decides to close the café early, after having a bad feeling about Hayley and Roy's situation all day. A few minutes later, Hayley's former boss Carla Connor (Alison King) arrives at the café and Anna answers the door. Carla also admits that she has had a bad feeling about the situation over the past few days. Carla then demands to see Hayley, but Anna tries to persuade her against the idea, thinking that leaving the couple alone would be the better choice. After giving in, Anna enters the café flat with Carla after using her spare set of keys, but to their shock, they find a deceased Hayley on the bed with Roy's arm around her. Anna sees the glass on Hayley's bedside cabinet and realises that she had taken an overdose, and washes the glass up for them. Carla witnesses Anna washing the glass and also guesses that Hayley committed suicide. Anna then walks into The Rovers and reveals to the devastated regulars that Hayley has died. The following week, Fiz Stape (Jennie McAlpine), who was the Croppers' foster child a few years before, learns the horrible truth about Hayley's death and shouts at Roy, storming out of the café. Anna then finds Fiz and explains that it was what Hayley wanted and that it was not assisted suicide.
The Windass and Armstrong families believe that 2014 is going to be a fantastic year, but they are horribly wrong. Owen and Gary go into partnership with Pat Phelan (Connor McIntyre), who instantly becomes attracted to Anna - despite being married to a woman named Valerie (Caroline Berry). When Anna goes to apologize to Phelan after Owen misinterpreted his belief that he had conned them, he tries to flirt with her, which worries Anna, who confides in Izzy. The following week, Anna texts Phelan and meets with him at her house. She tells him to leave her alone, but Phelan forces himself on Anna before she manages to throw him out of the house. When Phelan and Valerie organize another meeting with the Windasses and Armstrongs in the Bistro, Anna feigns illness and runs back to the house. Izzy returns to see how Anna is, where she tells her that Phelan tried to rape her. Izzy tells Gary, who has a fight with Phelan, resulting in Gary hitting Phelan across the head with a large plank of wood, knocking him unconscious. Phelan survives, and reveals to Gary and Owen that his attack was caught on CCTV. He blackmails them, saying if they do not do as he says, he will take the footage to the police. At work, Phelan forces Gary and Owen to do silly tasks, including burying a grave for a dead pigeon, and taking out perfectly fitted windows. This eventually gets too much for Owen and Gary, particularly when Phelan decides to keep Owen's £80,000 investment in retribution for Gary's failed attempt to retaliate against him. Upon taking notice of this, being present with Owen having a breakdown and Gary suffering a panic attack, Anna calls Valerie and tells her how Phelan tried to rape her; however, she takes no notice - prompting Anna to berate Valerie before throwing her out of the house. She later tries to speak to Phelan, who gives Anna an indecent ultimatum: he will release Gary and Owen from the contract if Anna has sex with him. Anna reluctantly agrees and meets up with Phelan at a hotel, where they proceed to have sex. She then furiously leaves after Phelan teases her, and does not tell Owen or Valerie about her ordeal.
Following her betrayal with Phelan, Anna cannot bring herself to be close or have sex with Owen, which devastates him. He confronts her, asking her whether she has fallen out of love with him or not. Anna replies with explaining that everything she has ever done is purely for their families, and that she still loves him. Owen later confides in Katy, and breaking down in her arms. The guilt begins to get too much for Anna, who confides in Roy and tells him she has done something terrible. He urges her to tell Owen, and she organises a quiet night in so she can tell him about her night with Phelan. However, Izzy enters in floods of tears, so she does not tell Owen. In the week where Tina is murdered, a devastated Anna reveals to a stunned Owen about her night with Phelan. He is distraught, but Anna tries to make him see that she only did it for their relationship. Owen then tells Anna that nothing will ever be the same for their relationship again. Owen then leaves Weatherfield for a short time for work, so Anna decides to tell Izzy and Katy about her night with Phelan. Izzy understands why Anna did what she did, but Katy is less forgiving, and implies that Anna is a "whore". When Owen returns a few weeks later, Faye organises a meal for him and Anna, and reveals that it is going to get them back together. When Owen does not show up, Faye is livid, and Anna decides it is time to tell her about her and Phelan. She later disposes of the idea, and tells Owen to act like they are still a couple for their family's sake. When Faye goes out with her friends and gets drunk, Anna is furious at Gary for giving her the money, and when things get heated between Owen and Gary, Owen punches him. Anna shouts at Owen for hitting Gary, and orders Gary and Izzy to go home, while she tends to a drunken Faye.
Anna and Owen eventually manage to repair their relationship and become a proper couple, just as Gary and Izzy end their long-standing relationship. Anna and Owen are upset by Gary and Izzy's split, but are later faced with another dilemma when Owen receives letters from people who he has borrowed money from. The following week, bailiffs arrive at the Windass and Armstrong household and begin taking their belongings, leaving Anna and Faye traumatized. When the bailiffs leave with most of their things, Owen tells Anna, Gary and Faye that he will get them out of the mess he has got them into.
In 2015, Anna becomes concerned for Faye and she worries that Faye's bullying may be becoming worse as Faye tells Anna that she is being mocked for her weight gain. Eventually, it is revealed to Anna and Owen that Faye recently found out she was pregnant and Anna is beside Faye as she gives birth to a baby girl. Rather than be mad at Faye for not telling her, Anna is determined to encourage Faye to be responsible for her daughter, even if it means her no longer being in school until she learns to take maternal responsibility of the baby. Anna invites the father and his family over to discuss the baby. The father is revealed to be a boy called Jackson Hodge (Rhys Cadman). As Jackson denies taking any responsibility for getting Faye pregnant and Jackson's mother makes cruel remarks about Faye, Anna kicks out the family.
Anna's encouragement for Faye to be a mother towards baby Miley (as Faye has named her, after pop star Miley Cyrus) led to Owen thinking that Anna was acting selfish and that she was making Faye keep the baby so she can be a grandmother, but after a meeting with a social worker, when Owen confronts Anna with his suspicions, Anna breaks down over his harsh words and tells him of how she only wanted Faye to be a good mother and that she didn't want her to regret giving Miley up. When their relationship doesn't work, Anna and Owen split up and Owen leaves Weatherfield with Katy to Portugal before he would proceed to embark on a new life himself in Aberdeen.
At Miley's christening, Faye does a runner from the church. Tim follows her outside and Faye admits to Tim that she's not ready to be a mother yet and that she thinks her mother doesn't understand how she feels. When Jackson's parents, Josie and Greig, offer to have Miley come live with them, both Anna and Tim were against the idea. However, they soon discovered this is the only option to prevent baby Miley from being adopted, and in that same month and year, the Windasses say a tearful goodbye to Miley and Josie drives off with the baby. In August 2015, the Hodges left Weatherfield with the baby for a new life in Canada, pretending to be on vacation. When Anna and Tim discovered this over a phone call, they told an upset Faye, who had a talk with best male friend, Craig Tinker (Colson Smith). Faye decided that Miley was better off in Canada, but when Tim confronted her of being selfish, Faye told him that she made up her mind and that Miley is with people that love her. On New Year's Eve 2015, Anna begins a relationship with Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell), the ex-husband of Tim's wife, Sally. They kept their relationship a secret but when Tim spotted them in a taxi, he decided to keep it secret as he didn't want to hurt Sal since she had a kiss with Kevin the previous year before her wedding.
In January 2016, it is revealed that Phelan has returned and is now working for Kevin at the garage. Later, Sally discovers Anna and Kevin's relationship when she goes to the garage to have Kevin stop a councillor from removing Maddie Heath's (Amy James-Kelly) memorial wall. She walks in on them having a kiss and disapproves of Anna. When Phelan's torment of Anna goes too far, she smashes his car with a metal pole and proceeds to physically attack him. Kevin, disgusted with Anna's behaviour, breaks up with her over her actions. The following day, Phelan arrives at the café when it is closed and attacks Anna, pinning her up against the wall, but is saved by Kevin's arrival. Anna desperately attempts to warn Phelan's new partner, Eileen Grimshaw (Sue Cleaver), about how he blackmailed her into having sex with him; however, as Phelan had already manipulated Eileen into believing his version of the story between him and Anna, she refuses to believe her story and throws her out of the house. Anna leaves, and once again clashes with Phelan when he tells her that he'll be sticking around for as long as he pleases. In October 2016, Anna and Kevin eventually agree to move in together, although she is disapproving of Gary's potential romance with Sarah Platt (Tina O'Brien). Anna is present when a car accident on the street caused by David traps Gary and David's own daughter, Lily Platt. The locals gather together and manage to lift the vehicle in order to free Gary and Lily, but moments later the car explodes, causing Anna to fall in a puddle of petrol. A second explosion then rips through the street, and due to her being covered in petrol, Anna is set on fire. Kevin and Nick Tilsley (Ben Price) attempt to put the fire out, and she is rushed to hospital, where Gary and Kevin are told that Anna's burns are severe, with her clothes melting into her skin.
After the fire, Anna is left unable to walk unaided. She decides to end her relationship with Kevin, feeling that it is unfair to burden herself onto him. However, after persuasion from her family and friends, she reunites with Kevin. In the course of recovering, Anna becomes friends with Eileen's ex-boyfriend Michael Rodwell (Les Dennis) and they later work together to expose Phelan for his role in the "Calcutta Street" flats scam development; while Michael breaks into the yard to obtain evidence against him, Anna invites Phelan to stall for time and deduces that he's been manipulating Eileen through the course of their relationship. However, her unsuccessful attempt to bribe Phelan in leaving Weatherfield is cut short when his phone rings - causing him to learn of her conspiracy with Michael. After smashing Anna's house out of anger whilst promising to make her "regret crossing him", Phelan would go on to confront Michael - resulting in a showdown between them that ends with Michael having a heart attack, and he dies with Phelan watching as he refuses to aid him. Anna becomes guilty for Michael's death and tries desperately to expose Phelan for his role within the manslaughter, but fails each other. At the end of December 2016, Anna's landlord Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) returns to Weatherfield and decides he wants to move back into his old flat, leaving Anna homeless until Kevin suggests that she and Faye move in with him and his son, Jack. On New Year's Eve, while Kevin is at work, a powercut frightens Jack, which results in Anna falling down the stairs as she rushes to be with him. Jack leaves the house to find Kevin, however he finds Phelan who helps Anna after she regains consciousness.
When Anna found out that Faye had a boyfriend, Seb Franklin (Harry Visinoni), she was furious, especially as her last boyfriend got her pregnant. This caused a rift between Anna and Faye, particularly as her relationship with Seb also led to forming a friendship with Phelan - who recently hired Seb to work for him. Faye proved her love for Seb by getting a tattoo, which soon got infected. Whilst they were at the hospital, Faye bumped into Jackson and their daughter Miley. This delighted Anna and Tim. However, Seb punches Jackson and threatened them both to stay away from Faye. This led to Seb getting arrested and land in a young offenders' institution. Faye, however, still loves Seb and asked Phelan if he can take her to see him. Anna eventually found out and angrily ordered Faye to stay away from them, which resulted in Faye running away from her and staying with Gary and Izzy. Eventually, they forgave each other.
Soon, Anna gets herself involved in Seb's family, as she found out that Seb is looking after his twin siblings Charlie and Lexi, as their mother, Abi (Sally Carman), is a heroin addict. After Abi took a heroin overdose, an ambulance was contacted and social services got involved and took the kids away. An angry and devastated Seb angrily accuses Anna of calling social services. After talking about it with Phelan, Seb insults Anna so she slaps him. Anna confronts Phelan about the altercation and lashes out when he mocks Owen over the recent loss of his daughter: Kate. However, she is overpowered and leaves - telling Phelan that he can "go to hell", to which he responds by telling Anna "after you". Not realizing that she left her earing behind at Phelan's yard, Anna witnesses Seb falling off a ladder whilst cleaning the solicitors' windows and she quickly called an ambulance. At the hospital, she meets Seb's case worker: Nicola Rubinstein (Nicola Thorp), who she recently found out was Phelan's long-lost daughter. After a friendly conversation about Seb and their own personal problems, Anna confides in Nicola about Phelan by describing the events of her ordeal with him. The next day, Nicola would discover that Phelan had previously raped her mother Annabel - causing her to realize that Anna was telling the truth about her dad; she subsequently disowned Phelan afterwards.
An angry Phelan retaliated by telling Seb that Anna pushed him off the ladder after planting an earring by the solicitors door. Seb then told Faye, who called the police. She was arrested and was questioned by the police, strongly insisting that Phelan is setting her up. She was released pending further investigation and was angered to find out that very few people on the street believed her. She was furious when she found that that Nicola was pregnant with Gary's baby. Afterwards, she attempted to trick Phelan into confessing on her mobile phone as to why he is framing her, however Phelan does not fall for it and pretended he didn't know what she was talking about. He then told Seb that he saw Anna push him, which led to Anna being arrested for the second time. This time, she was refused bail.
Tim and Sarah found out that Gary died in an explosion whilst working for the Ukraine. Anna was devastated and started to have a mental breakdown in her cell, leading to the prison taking her to see a doctor. However, she was relieved when she found out that Gary was alive all along. During Gary's next visit, Anna was overdosed after she took medication prescribed by her doctor and she collapsed while trying to get back into her cell. She was taken to hospital, where Kevin finished with her after he couldn't take any more of her obsession with Phelan. Whilst the doctor and her prison guard was not looking, Anna makes her escape.
Phelan called the police after finding out that Anna was at the Red Rec, with undercover police searching for her. Anna finds this out after Craig talked to a copper and so she escapes to Roy's café. The next morning, Anna broke into Phelan's office to try and find evidence that Phelan is lying. However, she heard footsteps and using a wrench, she hit Eileen unconscious by mistake, when she thought it was Phelan. Realizing that she could be caught, Anna plans her escape from the country with Faye. She then went back to see Eileen, but Phelan caught her out and called the ambulance and police. Anna and Faye escape to a car park, but was surrounded by the police, who ask her to come out of the vehicle. Realizing that she is now caught, she encouraged Faye to get out of the car, which she does. Anna was taken into custody once more. Phelan visits Anna again and threatens her family. A furious Anna slaps him in front of the guards and prisoners. Anna's trial begins with Phelan sticking to his story that he saw Anna push Seb. Seb, however, told the truth in court and said that Phelan told him to say it to the police, angering Phelan. This gave the Windasses hope that Anna would be found not guilty. However, Eileen found CCTV footage of Gary and Tim dragging Seb into a car, making it look like they are kidnapping him and forcing him to change his story. As a result of this, Anna has been found guilty of GBH. Anna screamed to the court that she is innocent and Phelan is evil. She was taken away to her cells, apologizing to a heartbroken Faye. Later, Anna is sentenced to five years.
Four months later, Anna returns to Weatherfield as part of Gary's plan to take down Phelan. After discovering that Phelan has shot Nicola and is holding residents hostage at the bistro, Anna enters the bistro through the back entrance. Phelan takes Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh) hostage in the kitchen and when he shoots Michelle then Anna stabs Phelan. He pulls the knife from his chest in order to bleed out and die, taunting her that she will be imprisoned for his murder. Anna and Michelle agree that what had happened was in self-defence. Anna tells Phelan that she has won the feud and Phelan dies. Anna reunites with Faye, Gary and Kevin, before making amends with Eileen. Anna explains that she is moving to Durham and invites Faye to live with her and she accepts.
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.
Departure and return
On 3 July 2017, it was announced that Rush had opted to leave the serial to pursue other roles, following nine years in the role. The actress will finish filming in late 2017, with Anna departing in January 2018. Rush explained that the decision to leave was "not made lightly", but she is looking forward to pursuing other roles. She added, "I love playing Anna and will miss working with the fantastic cast and crew." Kate Oates, the show's series producer, promised that writers are creating an "exciting" departure plot for Anna, which sees her "fighting for her family and tackling old enemies head-on." Oates commented, "It's always sad when a huge talent like Debbie Rush decides to move to pastures new." Additionally, a show spokesperson confirmed "plenty more drama" for the character before her departure and wished Rush "every success for the future". Rush's exit aired on 22 January 2018.
On 31 May 2018, Anna returned to the series as part of Phelan's exiting storyline. Her return had not been announced beforehand and was a surprise for the audience. She appeared in the episodes first broadcast on 31 May and 1 June 2018. Rush was glad that Anna's story did not end with her last departure as she felt they could leave Anna imprisoned. On her reasons for leaving, Rush explained, "I didn't leave because I hated it, I left for a few different reasons and I loved going back." Rush had already agreed to reprise her role for the episodes when she left and had to decline other acting opportunities for the return. The actress liked returning for the episodes. After her departure, she continued to tweet about the show, which attracted the attention of her followers. Rush filmed her scenes over five days and when she entered the studios in her car, she had to hide so nobody saw her. In her final episodes, Anna kills Phelan after he shoots Nicola and Michelle and holds several residents hostage in the Bistro. Rush explained that Anna realises that Phelan is "pure evil" so decides to kill him before he kills her. She added, "I think in a moment of pure, frenzied anger and vengeance, she just picked the kitchen knife up and stabbed him. Then she was thrilled that she'd done it, because she could finally sleep." Rush hoped the audience would enjoy the storyline and believed that Anna's story had firmly ended.
For her portrayl of Anna, Rush was nominated for Best Actress at The British Soap Awards 2015. Anna's return was nominated for Biggest OMG Soap moment at the 2018 Digital Spy Reader Awards; it came in second place with 16.2% of the total votes.
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." She went on to say "I rather like Anna, although Gail Platt isn't a fan. I was expecting another Cilla Battersby-Brown, 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.
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