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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 16:02 GMT
Goodyear's time at the bar
Julie Goodyear and Roy Barraclough
Rovers couple: Bet and Alec Gilroy
Bet Lynch is one of UK television's most enduring characters - and she made actress Julie Goodyear into one of its biggest stars.

Glamorous, but tough, Bet spent 25 years on Coronation Street, most of those behind the bar at the Rovers Return.

Aptly, Goodyear, 59, herself was brought up in a pub in Lancashire.

She had wanted to be a singer, but found acting work after becoming a model.

Bit parts on television followed, including a six-week stint on Coronation Street in 1966 as Bet Lynch, a raincoat factory worker who was having an affair with her boss.

Julie Goodyear as Bet Lynch
Bet's tough-but-glamorous image was loved by viewers
A spell at Oldham Rep followed - reputedly after Pat Phoenix advised her to get some formal training - and Goodyear returned to the Street in 1970.

Now working behind the bar at the Rovers, Bet Lynch's character was built up with a series of hard-hitting storylines - featuring a string of failed love affairs with, among others, Len Fairclough and Mike Baldwin.

She was also revealed to have a son, Martin, who was killed in a car crash while serving as a soldier in Northern Ireland. Bet had never had the chance to meet him.

Love life

Goodyear's own private life was eventful too - the ups and downs of her love life were keenly followed by the press.

In 1979 she discovered she had cervical cancer, but she overcame the disease and set up a trust fund to help other sufferers.

Bet became landlady of the Rovers in 1985, and storylines saw her marry theatre agent Alec Gilroy, and nearly die in a fire at the pub.

Julie Goodyear
Bet's 1999 return in After Hours
Goodyear quit the show in 1995 - Bet was unable to raise the 67,000 needed for a new tenancy at the Rovers.

Coronation Street's producers said she was welcome to return to the show, and she took part in a 1999 spin-off, After Hours, which saw her run a bar in Brighton.

Stage appearances and a satellite TV chat show followed, but Goodyear has spent most of her time living quietly on her farm in Heywood, Lancashire - where she is a member of the National Farmers Union.

Before she returns to the Street, she is appearing in camp musical La Cage Aux Folles at the New Theatre in Cardiff.

See also:

30 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Goodyear agrees Street return
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