Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (9)  | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (3)

Born in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England, UK
Birth NameThelma Pigott
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Thelma Barlow (née Pigott) is an English television actress and writer, most famous for her roles as Mavis Wilton in the long-running ITV soap opera Coronation Street and as Dolly Bellfield in the sitcom Dinnerladies.

Thelma Barlow was born in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, the younger of two daughters. Her father, Tommy, a cabinet maker, died of pneumonia five weeks before her birth, and Barlow was brought up by her mother Margaret. During her childhood the family moved to Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Barlow left school at 15 and went to Huddersfield Technical College to study shorthand and typing. Her first job was as a secretary, which she held for eight years and at the same time belonged to an amateur dramatics group. Barlow decided to take up acting professionally and joined the Joan Littlewood Theatre Group. During the 1950s she did rep in Liverpool, Nottingham and Birmingham. In 1960 Barlow joined the West of England Theatre Company followed by the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Company. In Bristol she ran a boarding house for fellow actors. In 1956 she married set designer Graham Barlow; they subsequently had two children, Clive and James. They divorced in 1983.

Thelma Barlow's first television appearance was in 1970's A Stranger on the Hill. The following year while performing in Liverpool she was asked to audition for the soap opera Coronation Street for the role of Mavis Riley. She was successful and her first episode was transmitted on 14 August 1971, though the character appeared regularly only from 1973, when she joined the staff of "The Kabin". Barlow remained in the series for 26 years, appearing in nearly 2,000 episodes, until she left after the departure of her on-screen husband Derek. Her final episode was broadcast 10 October 1997 when Mavis moved to the Lake District. During her time on Coronation Street Barlow shared a flat with co-star Helen Worth and later moved to Settle, where she later did a TV show from her garden.

Barlow's next major role was that of Dolly Bellfield in Victoria Wood's sitcom Dinnerladies, which ran for two series from 1998 to 2000.

Since her departure from Coronation Street Barlow has also made stage appearances.

In June 2014, Barlow narrated 30-minute documentary "Gail & Me: 40 Years on Coronation Street" which celebrated Helen Worth's career on Coronation Street as Gail Platt.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Born into a working class household in Middlesborough. she never knew her father as he died of pneumonia six weeks before she was born. leaving it as an all female household her grandmother, her mother, her sister and her.She had no thoughts of being an actress starting her working life, like many other girls, as a shorthand typist. Although she visited the theatre it never occurred to her that she might be on the stage herself however she enrolled in speech and drama classes at night school and encouraged by her teacher she joined a local amateur drama group and found that she loved it. She started appearing in amateur productions around Huddersfield and Bradford and eventually decided to put her stenographer's pad away in favour of an acting career. Leaving home was tough as with her sister already married it took two years of talking about it before her mother was able to accept things.Thelma made her professional debut at Straford in the mid fifties in a play called 'The Chimes' in which one of her co stars was a young Michael Caine and remembers him as being very good. She worked steadily, in the theatre, mainly until 1971 when she got a call and an invitation to join Coronation Street. The squeaky high pitched whine of a voice which she gives Mavis was her own invention and she could have continued in the soap but by 1997 she was itching to leave the cobbles as she had started to worry if she'd ever get the chance to do anything else. She was asked to return for the episode where Rita celebrates her 70th birthday but she'd already signed up for other work. Her biggest screen success after leaving the Street was in 'Dinner Ladies' with Victoria Wood. In 2002 she played film actress Louise Brooks in a new play called 'Smoking With Lulu' which opened to great acclaim at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds then transferred to the Soho Theatre in London. The only thing she wasn't keen on with the play was that she had to smoke, something she had given up in 1985 after being just a light social smoker. She divorced her husband, Graham in the mid '80's and has 2 sons and 2 grandsons.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tonyman 5

Spouse (1)

Graham Barlow (1956 - 1983) ( divorced) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Catchphrase: "I don't really know" as Coronation Street's Mavis Riley, later Mavis Wilton

Trivia (9)

Gave birth to her 1st child at age 30, a son Clive Barlow on March 27, 1960. Child's father is her [now ex] husband, Graham Barlow.
Has an older sister, Veda (née Piggott) McGhee (b. 1925).
Has two grandsons - Thomas (b. 1992) and Matthew (b. 1995) - via son Clive.
Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 33, a son James Barlow on July 11, 1962. Child's father is her [now ex] husband, Graham Barlow.
Is a keen gardener.
Upon leaving school at 15 she found work as a secretary.
Best friends with Anne Reid; they frequently holiday together.
When about 3 family moved to village of Hutton Rudby near Middlesborough. then about 3 years later moved to Huddersfield.
Brought up by her mother, Meggie, grandmother and older sister, Veda.

Personal Quotes (3)

[on Coronation Street (1960), 2005] "I used to love the fact that it was so different from the other soaps; it had a lot more humour in it and kindness, but now it's more about who's sleeping with who. I suppose they've had to do it to keep up with the others."
Regrets are pointless. My career has been beyond my expectations - it's been wonderful.
[on her Coronation Street (1960) character] "I could never have imagined I would stay with that character all that time. It had its own challenges and interest because it was like doing something in miniature rather than a big painting ... [Mavis] had great integrity, and she was a very loyal person. She would stick by her morality. She was a mouse to begin with, and then she met Derek and that did change, and she learnt to be quite tough."

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