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Doreen Keogh, Irish actress and original Coronation Street barmaid – obituary

Doreen Keogh as the Coronation Street barmaid, Concepta Riley Credit: ITV/Rex

Doreen Keogh, the actress, who has died aged 91, was the original Coronation Street barmaid.

Her character, Concepta Riley, an excitable Irishwoman, began pulling pints at the Rovers Return in the fifth episode of the soap opera and stayed with the series for four years. In 1961 she married the widowed bus conductor Harry Hewitt (Ivan Beavis). They had a son, Christopher.

When, in October 1962, the baby was kidnapped outside Gamma Garments, it gave Coronation Street its most dramatic storyline to date and a record 21 million viewers. The saga of the ensuing police hunt ran for two weeks until Elsie Tanner (Pat Phoenix) discovered Christopher alive and well in the care of Joan Akers (Anna Cropper).

Two years later, however, Harry and Concepta were written out by an axe-wielding new producer. The couple returned briefly in 1967 for Elsie Tanner’s second wedding, only for Harry to be crushed...

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