By Michael Osborn
Entertainment reporter, BBC News
With Coronation Street stalwart Vera Duckworth making her exit from the series, another one of British soap's towering matriarchs will pass into history.
Jack and Vera have had an enduring soap partnership
Vera is part of a long line of indomitable, more mature women who endure for years and make a lasting impression.
Here is a selection of soapland's strong women who have gone on to become small screen legends.
PAT EVANS - EASTENDERS, 1986 to present
Pat Wicks first appeared in Albert Square as a hard-nosed brass hell-bent on causing trouble with ex-husband Pete Beale (Pauline Fowler's twin brother).
Frank Butcher was the love of Pat's life
As the years progressed she married teen sweetheart Frank Butcher and was the working mother at the centre of family life - which proved to be more dramatic and wayward than her trademark earrings.
She was unable to forget Frank even after marrying fourth husband Roy, embarking on a colourful affair which culminated in a public dressing-down by arch-rival and fellow grande dame Peggy Mitchell.
Advancing years and widowhood made Pat surrogate matriarch to the sprawling Wicks clan - and will see another family gathering around her soon.
ANNIE WALKER - CORONATION STREET, 1960-83
Annie Walker was Coronation Street's first landlady of the Rovers Return pub, which she ran with husband Jack until his death in 1970, then solo for another 13 years.
Annie Walker was known for looking down her nose at Hilda Ogden
While Annie effortlessly henpecked Jack, she became best known for her haughtiness and true belief that she was a cut above her working class customers in the back street Weatherfield watering hole.
A stint as Lady Mayor did everything to reinforce her idea that she was a woman of substance.
Annie was a pivotal figure in the early years of the street, later presiding over a classic line-up at the Rovers which included Bet Lynch - the brassy barmaid who would later take on Mrs Walker's mantle as landlady.
ANNIE SUGDEN - EMMERDALE, 1972-94
This once-dour tale of Yorkshire farming folk began with the funeral of Annie Sugden's husband - and from that moment on she was the head of the household and a pivotal figure during the soap's early years.
Annie Sugden rarely seemed to leave the kitchen
For years Annie seemed forever apron-clad and welded to her kitchen making cups of tea, but wielded power over sons Joe and Jack who were regularly at odds.
But as Emmerdale was sexed up and the action shifted from the farm to the village, Annie found she was displaced as the homely yet domineering matron.
She ended up in a coma and lost her second husband after a plane crashed on Emmerdale in 1993.
However, she recovered to enjoy retirement in Spain with hirsute pub landlord Amos Brearly as the series swapped matriarchs for ruthless superbitches.
PAULINE FOWLER - EASTENDERS, 1985-2006
Pauline Fowler was at the centre of family feuds towards her life's end
When EastEnders began, Pauline Fowler was truly overshadowed by mother Lou Beale, who lived in the family home and ruled over it with a rod of iron.
She was all about dowdy cardigans, shifts in the launderette and worries with husband Arthur and daughter - gymslip mum Michelle - until Lou's demise and the onset of age saw her transform into a matriarch.
Pauline's obsession became family, which was her undoing towards the end of her life when she became embroiled in a bitter dispute with son Martin and his wife Sonia.
She was driven to fake a fatal illness, accidentally set fire to the house, and on Christmas Day 2006 died alone in the snow of Albert Square.
MEG MORTIMER - CROSSROADS, 1964-81
Actress Noele Gordon died in 1985
Meg Mortimer - who started out life in the series as Meg Richardson - was the owner of the Midlands motel, a shrewd-headed businesswoman with her son and daughter close at hand.
Flame-haired, sophisticated Meg became synonymous with the popular teatime soap, but actress Noele Gordon was eventually axed from the programme.
It led to one of Crossroads' most memorable moments, when the motel caught fire and it was feared that Meg had perished in the blaze. But she was waiting to sail off into the sunset on the QE2 for a new life.
Some fans say matricarchal Meg was the epitome of the programme, which went into a decline following her departure.
ENA SHARPLES - CORONATION STREET, 1960-80
Sour-faced Ena Sharples with her hairnet and line in sharp patter is an enduring icon of Coronation Street from its earliest days almost half a century ago.
Ena Sharples was not renowned for cracking a smile
The derogratory term battleaxe can fairly be applied to Ena, who famously sat in judgement in the snug of the Rovers Return with her cohorts and was at the heart of local gossip.
Unlike matriarchs with a brood to rule over, Ena's plain talking left her alone and indulging in a long-running spat with Street siren Elsie Tanner, while she never possessed a solid family home.
As actress Violet Carson sought retirement after 20 years in the role, Ena went to stay with a friend and never returned to the cobbles of Weatherfield.