Blanche Hunt was a character in Coronation Street intermittently initially from Ep 1418 - 19 Aug 1974 to 1981, followed by short returns in 1996 and 1997, and she then became full time from 1999 to December 2009. She was the acid tongued mother of Deirdre Barlow. In the 1970s as a younger woman, Blanche was more vibrant and assertive as opposed to offensive. As she got older, she became more and more offensive, especially by 1997. Blanche was played by actress Patricia Cutts in 1974 and from 1974 to 2009 by Maggie Jones.
Blanche Linfield was born on the 22nd January 1936 in Pear Street, Weatherfield to Mr. Linfield and Iris Linfield. She had a sister Beryl Linfield. Her father died during the Depression. Blanche married Donald Hunt in 1953. They had a daughter Deirdre Hunt on the 8th July 1955.
In 1974, Deirdre worked as a secretary for Len Fairclough and Ray Langton. Len was the more reasonable boss whereas Ray upset Deirdre. Blanche turned up in The Rovers and slapped Ray in front of all the customers. Deirdre and Ray started dating and they married in July 1975. Blanche kept an eye on Ray as she never liked him. Ray and Deirdre gave Blanche a grandchild, Tracy Langton in 1977. Blanche's distrust of Ray was correct as Ray cheated on Deirdre in 1978 and emigrated to Holland.
Blanche attended Deirdre's wedding to Ken Barlow in 1981. For the next 16 years, Blanche did not visit Coronation Street.
Between 1981 to 1996
Blanche came to stay in Coronation Street permanently in 1999. She moved in to Number 1 with Ken and Deirdre. She became friends with Rita and even helped her at The Kabin, Coronation Street. Blanche soon gained a reputation for being very outspoken and hilariously offensive.
In 2002 she began to go out with undertaker Archie Shuttleworth, but he fell in love with Audrey Roberts so broke off with Blanche, much to her distress. She later had an accident in which she fell down the stairs at Number 1, although she later made a recovery.
In 2008 she became a grandmother figure to Peter Barlow's son Simon Barlow. Blanche showed her more vulnerable side when she was concerned for Simon's sake due to Peter's battle with alcoholism and was shocked when Peter attempted to attack Ken outside of No 1.
In November 2009 Blanche grew attracted to Simon's grandfather George Wilson, especially due to him being rich. But Blanche's luck was out due to him already being married to Eve Wilson. When George and Eve came round for dinner with the Barlow family in December 2009, a drunk Blanche revealed her family's past misdemeanors such as Deirdre being in prison, Ken's multiple affairs, Peter's alcohol issues and Peter's partner Leanne once being a prostitute. This caused a disgusted George to leave early.
In late 2009, Blanche went on holiday to Portugal.
Blanche died in 3rd May 2010 aged 74 while in Portugal. Ken recieved the phone call and was shocked. Blanche's body was flown back to England for the funeral. She even said in her will before she died that she invited Norris to the reading.
- Blanche was originally played by Patricia Cutts, although she only appeared for two episodes in August 1974 due to the actress committing suicide in real life. The part was recast with Maggie Jones as storylines for Blanche had already been written, and Jones also auditioned or the part before it originally went to Cutts. Jones had previously appeared in Coronation Street in the 1960s in two separate roles, first as a policewoman and later a shoplifter.
- Jones originally appeared as a series regular from 1974 to 1976, before appearing on a guest basis from 1977 to 1981. Jones would then be absent from the programme for 15 years, most likely due to being in high demand and appearing in numerous television shows throughout the 1980s and 1990s. She returned in 1996, although wouldn't become a series regular again until 1998, making it the first time in 22 years since she was a main cast member.
- Blanche was absent from the show from May to November 2003 due to Maggie Jones being ill.
- In October 2009 it was reported that Jones was taking a break from the show after having surgery, and although it was reported that she was on the road to recovery she passed away on the 2nd December 2009, with her final scenes airing 9 days later on the 11th December 2009. Blanche was written out with the explanation that she was staying in Portugal, and the character was killed off-screen in May 2010 and given a send-off.
- Jones' comedic talent when it came to Blanche earned her two awards for Best Comedy Performance at the British Soap Awards in 2005 and 2008.
- Some sources state Blanche's year of birth as 1936 but other sources say she was employed at a young age as a corset maker in 1942 aged 17. This info is given in Daran Little's Weatherfield Life book, charting the characters lives before the show began, or before they first appeared, however it is not known if Blanche ever stated this in the show itself. If she was a corset maker in 1942, and was born in 1936 she'd have only been 6 years old at the time. Also she was said to have had had a romance with Dave Smith during the war. However at her funeral, the coffin plate said she was 74 when she died on 3rd May 2010, making her 1936 birth date plausible. At her daughter Deirdre's funeral in 2015, Tracy visited her grans grave and the headstone said she was born 22nd January 1936, matching that on the coffin plat at her funeral 5 years earlier. 1926 would sound more reasonable to tie in with the 1942 occupation and wartime romance with Dave Smith. More likely born 22nd January 1926, making her almost 17 in 1942. Maybe they did make an error on her gravestone and was 10 years out. Or it could be that the original info on her was forgotten about and 1936 given as her year of birth, to make her nearer to the age of the actress who was born in 1934.
Appearances: 19–21 August 1974 (Patricia Cutts), 30 September 1974–28 January 1976, 24 January–15 June 1977, 6–15 November 1978, 20–29 July 1981, 13–15 November 1996, 3 December 1997, 23 December 1998–11 December 2009 (Maggie Jones)
Born: 22nd January 1936, Weatherfield, Lancashire
Died: 3rd May 2010 (Aged 74), Portugal
Full Name: Blanche Hunt (Nee Linfield)
Parents: Mr. Linfield and Iris Linfield
Siblings: Beryl Linfield
Grandfathers: Ian Linfield
Spouses: Donald Hunt (1953-1963)
Children: Deirdre Hunt (1955)
Grandchildren: Tracy Barlow
Great grandchildren: Amy Barlow