Remembering Doreen Keogh

The actress Doreen Keogh has passed away, she is well remembered for her roles in Coronation Street, Father Ted, The Royle Family and Cold Feet.

Doreen Keogh as Concepta Riley in an 1961 episode of Coronation Street. Image: Granada Television

“Our auntie Doreen died peacefully in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, Ireland, on New Year’s Eve after a long illness.”- Family Statement

The 91-year-old died on New Years’ Eve at Columba’s Hospital in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, Ireland. The family of the performer released a statement noting Doreen had been at the facility having suffered with Alzheimer’s for the past decade.

Keogh was part of the original cast of Granada Television’s Coronation Street, the first barmaid of the Rovers Return Inn as Concepta Riley. Doreen, who grew up in Clontarf, Dublin, later appeared in other ITV serial Crossroads as Mrs Condour, a newspaper reporter involved in a story involving a shooting. This role saw her meet Princess Alexandra at the ATV Centre when the royal officially opened the Birmingham-based studio facilities on March 19th 1970.

However her more memorable Weatherfield role – which she was first seen in episode five – saw her initially with the show for four years, later returning for several other stints in the late 60s and 1970s. Other parts saw her appear as a friend of Mrs Doyle in Channel 4 comedy Father Ted, Pete’s mum in Cold Feet and neighbour Mary Carroll in BBC One sitcom The Royle Family.

Doreen meets Princess Alexandra at the opening of the Birmingham ATV Centre TV studio in 1970. She first appeared in Crossroads in April 1969.
Picture Shows: Doreen Keogh as Mary Carroll and Sue Johnston as Barbara Royle in series three, episode six, of ‘The Royle Family’. Image: BBC Comedy

“She is known for the parts she played in prominent TV series including Coronation Street, Ballykissangel, Father Ted, The Royle Family, Cold Feet, Fair City, Z Cars, Crossroads and others. She also had many stage and film roles, including a part in the 1960 the Blake Edwards-directed musical Darling Lili with Julie Andrews and Rock Hudson.” – Family Statement

Tributes have been paid to the actress with ITV leading the celebration of Doreen’s life. John Whiston, the Creative Director at ITV Studios, spoke to tabloid The Mirror noting in the newspaper that ‘All at Coronation Street are sad to hear about the death of Doreen Keogh’ he added ‘there have been many barmaids in the Rovers over the years, dispensing pints and wisdom in equal measure. But Doreen played the first and so has a unique place not just in the history of the show but in the affection of all who watch The Street.’

Former Coronation Street writer Darren Little said he was ‘Saddened to hear of the passing of the lovely Doreen Keogh’ who he went on to describe as ‘a wonderful actress whose delightful laugh I’ll never forget.’ He went on to note that the ITV Granada series, which began in December 1960,  has ‘not many Coronation Street originals left’.

“Although born In Dublin, she coached Barbra Streisand in the art of speaking in a cockney accent for Streisand’s 1970 film, On a clear day you can see forever.” – Family Statement

A late 60s Granada Television promotional photograph for Coronation Street featuring Doreen Keogh. The Rovers photo dates from 1961.

Doreen returned to the Granada TV studio in Manchester for more storylines with Coronation Street in the 1970s.
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