First appeared: 14th December 1960
Last appeared: 7th April 1976
YouTube of her last scene here
Margot Bryant played the role of timid pensioner Minnie Caldwell between 1960 and 1976.
Born in Hull in Yorkshire in 1897, Bryant later moved with her family to London and that’s where her interest in the theatre began. She made her break in The Cure for Love in 1949 where she starred alongside future Corrie co-star Jack Howarth (Albert Tatlock). She also starred in various films, acting alongside the likes of Fred Astaire and Oliver Reed. She also appeared in The Verdict is Yours in 1958.
At 63, she secured the role of 60 year old cat-loving Minnie Caldwell in new drama serial Coronation Street. Minnie’s life revolved her cats Bobby and later Sunny Jim and supping milk stout in the Rovers snug with pals Ena Sharples and Martha Longhurst and was often dominated and bullied by her fellow cronies. Debuting in the second episode, Minnie’s storylines over the years including money problems; a gambling addiction and when she fell into debt she disappeared; being injured in a coach crash; taking in lodgers Charlie Moffitt, Joe Donnelli (who took her hostage at gunpoint), Eddie Yeats and most famously Jed Stone who she saw as a son. Having lost hubby Armistead in 1935 and childless, Minnie dedicated her life to cats. Romance did enter her life though. She was smitten towards old flame Handel Gartside when he visited in 1970 after 30 years in Canada. And in 1973 Albert Tatlock proposed to her in a bid to ease their financial problems. But after three months of engagement, she grew tired of his habits like drinking tea from his saucer and called it off.
By the mid-1970s, Margot Bryant’s health deteriorated as she suffered from memory loss. She appeared regularly until the end of 1975 before making just three appearances in 1976. She recorded her final scenes with long-time colleague Violet Carson with her lines in front of her but hidden by her handbag. Her last scene was in The Kabin and she never appeared again. Over 15 years, she had appeared in 990 episodes in total. Six months after her final appearance in April 1976, Minnie was said to have decided to stay permanently with Handel Gartside in Whaley Bridge who she’d been visiting (this covered Bryant’s absence). Minnie’s house was sold (the last house to have an outside toilet and the only one not privately owned) and Handel Gartside came to collect her things and to tell her friends Ena and Albert she wasn’t returning and gave Minnie, although not memorable, a dignified exit.
Ultimately Margot Bryant was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and was admitted to a mental hospital in Cheadle by Stockport where she remained until her death on New Year’s Day 1988 aged 90. She remained unmarried and like her alter-ego was fond of cats. In Coronation Street, Minnie wasn’t officially killed off but in 2008 was said to have died prior to that year, probably around the time of Bryant’s death.
Did you ever see or meet Margot Bryant? Do you have any pieces of trivia about her?
Sources from IMDB, Corriepedia and Wikipedia.