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Friday 20 July 2012

Corrie originals - Daphne Oxenford as Esther Hayes

First appeared: 14th December 1960

Last appeared: 5th April 1972

Daphne Oxenford played the role of spinster Esther Hayes between 1960 and 1961 and made guest appearances in 1962, 1963, 1971 and 1972.

Born in Barnet in London in 1919, Oxenford was trained in the Embassy Theatre in London. She made her TV debut in 1949 in Family Affairs, the first TV serial ever. The following year she began her 21 year association with the BBC’s Listen with Mother. In 1960, she was cast in the role of 36 year old stay-at-home Esther Hayes in new drama serial Coronation Street. Debuting in the second episode, Esther became a mother figure to many of the street’s young people including Christine Hardman, Ken Barlow and Lucille Hewitt. As she was an irregular character, she lacked any storylines. The only proper storyline she had was when her ex-con brother Tom turned up on her doorstep. Although she obliged to take him in, she quickly saw he hadn’t changed his ways and he quickly left the area. Esther later moved from the street to another area in Weatherfield in 1962 before moving to Glasgow in 1963. She would return to the street for special occasions like Ken Barlow and Valerie Tatlock’s wedding in 1962, Valerie’s funeral in 1971 and Ernest Bishop and Emily Nugent’s wedding in 1972. She made her final appearance at the Bishops’ wedding reception. Overall, she appeared in a total of 66 episodes.  

While she continued her role as the voice of Mother on Listen with Mother until 1971, Oxenford had roles in other TV programmes like City of ’68 (1967-1968), Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em (1973), The Dick Emery Show (1973), Crown Court (1973), Play for Today (1971-1975), Man About the House (1973-1976), To the Manor Born (1979-1981), Juliet Bravo (1983-1985), Fresh Fields (1984-1986), The Wind in the Willows (1984-1988), The Bill (1993) and Casualty (1988-1996). She continued to have roles in her 80s, starring as the Queen Mother in Prince William (2002), The Royal (2004) and Midsomer Murders (2004-2008). Her last role was as a dying Agatha Christie in Doctor Who in 2008, but her scene was cut out from the broadcast episode. She was also the longest serving actor-reader on What the Papers Say, clocking 36 years between 1956 and 1992.

She resided in Denville Hall (a retirement home for professional actors) in Northwood in Middlesex until her death in 2012 aged 93. She was married to David Marshall from 1951 until his death in 2003 and they had two children. It is unlikely that her death will be addressed on the show.

Have you ever seen or met Daphne Oxenford? Do you have any pieces of trivia about her?

Research from Wikipedia, Corriepedia, Corrie Net and IMDB.

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Greg W said...

I've always been a big fan of Esther - a very realistic, well played and unfortunately underused characters.

Definitely bring her back! Daphne Oxenford always seems to be as fit as ever, so why not? Even just a mention of her would be nice - maybe have Emily receive a letter from her or something

Unknown said...

I met Daphne in 1961 outside Granada studios. My friends and I were collecting autographs from the new programme Coronation Street. We asked for her autograph and she asked us what her name was, we all said Esther Hayes, ahhh she said but what is my real name? I was and still am a Coronation Street fan and had a pretty good memory and memorised all the character I said very quietly Daphne Oxenford, I was very shy in those days. She gave us a big smile and gladly gave us her autograph many times. She was a lovely lady and I have always remembered her from that day. RIP xx a big fan xxx


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