Deirdre was Blanche's only child, raised mainly by Blanche herself after her husband Donald Hunt was killed in a road traffic accident in 1963. A dressmaker, Blanche ran her own corsetry business from her Victoria Street home until 1976 when she sold up to concentrate on her new job as manageress of the Corner Shop. After a year in charge she accepted an offer from her old flame Dave Smith to run his country club in Kenilworth and left Weatherfield, except for the occasional visit to Deirdre and family.
In 1999, Blanche returned to Coronation Street permanently and, after successfully match-making Deirdre and ex-husband Ken Barlow, foisted herself on the couple at No.1, moving into their front room. Now retired, Blanche kept herself busy by attending reading groups such as the One O'Clock Club, going to funerals of people she didn't know, and looking for love with men such as Archie Shuttleworth and Wally Bannister.
While most of her peers mellowed with age, Blanche became even more brash and insensitive, constantly putting down family and neighbours alike with her witticisms. Blanche believed in being brutally honest, even if it meant she was widely hated. As she saw it, she knew best and was only trying to help. Her attitude led to an often strained relationship with her family, but occasionally she would make a gesture which showed that she really did care, such as in 2004 when she bought No.7 so that Tracy and Amy would have a home.
Blanche was married to bank manager Donald Hunt from 1953 until he was knocked down and killed by a car in 1963. Blanche fell pregnant unexpectedly and they had a daughter called Deirdre. Blanche ran a corsetry business from her Victoria Street home. She later gave up her corsetry business to help Gordon Clegg run the Corner Shop. In 1976, she encountered Dave Smith, an old flame. They began a relationship and later left the Street together.
Her relationship with Dave ended and she returned for a visit in 1977 when her granddaughter Tracy Langton was born. There she met a man called Steve Bassett and they got engaged, but later called it off and split up. She returned a year later when Deirdre had marriage troubles with husband Ray Langton and Blanche came to help. Ray had later left the Street. Blanche returned again in 1981 for Deirdre's second wedding to local Street resident Ken Barlow.
In 1993, whilst she was living in Warwickshire, Blanche suffered a stroke and Deirdre left to go and take care of her. Deirdre later returned when Blanche was better. Blanche reappeared in 1996 for Tracy's wedding to Robert Preston, and for Deirdre and Jon Lindsay's engagement party in 1997. Blanche returned to Weatherfield permanently in 1999 and moved in with Ken and Deirdre, after she had recently got them back together, for they had been split up and divorced for a few years. She worked at The Kabin before resigning because she found Rita Sullivan too moody, from then on she was retired, and filled her time with the One O'Clock Club, attending wakes and court hearings.
In 2002, she fell in love with funeral director Archie Shuttleworth and although they later broke up, they still remained good friends. She then started dating Wally Bannister, who was apparently a rich retiree. He then started to have an affair with Blanche's granddaughter, Tracy, who then later discovered that the mansion he was "living" at wasn't his, he was only housekeeping for someone.
When Tracy became pregnant, Blanche bought her a house in Coronation Street to live in. When Tracy later left to visit step-brother Peter Barlow, Blanche sold the house to pay for a hip-operation in Poland, as she had been on an NHS waiting list too long. Tracy later gave birth to a baby girl, and after making out that it was Roy Cropper's, it was revealed to be Steve McDonald's child. She later named the baby Amy. Tracy was arrested in 2007 for murdering boyfriend Charlie Stubbs. She was later sent down for fifteen years.
Blanche started insulting her neighbours, family and close friends in June 2007. She was later upset when she heard her friends commenting on her negative traits, with Norris Cole even saying no one would miss her if she died. She decided to become a bit nicer to everyone, but still insulted people at certain opportunities. In December 2008, Blanche showed her vulnerable side, becoming visibly upset when Peter turned up drunk to her great-grandson Simon's nativity play.
In 2009, Deirdre discovered that Ken had an affair with actress Martha Fraser. But when she forgave him and wanted to move on, Blanche was disgusted. Sick of her mother, Deirdre told her to leave. Blanche then moved in with Peter and Simon. But she later made up with Deirdre and moved back into No.1.
During Peter's alcoholics anonymous meeting in July 2009, Blanche got fed up with people talking about their drink problems, and started telling them that she was fed up with their whining. She then started to tell everyone about Ken's affair with Martha Fraser and Tracy being banged up in prison. But even when a woman at the meeting commented on Blanche's behaviour, Deirdre stood by Blanche and told the woman to shut up. Blanche and Deirdre left the meeting, with Blanche feeling happy with herself.
When Simon's other long lost other granddad George Wilson arrived to see him, Blanche fell in love with George due to him being rich. Even though he was married, Blanche still let him know how she felt. When George and his wife Eve came to visit, Blanche got drunk and started revealing about Ken's affairs, Deirdre being in prison, Peter being an alcoholic and Peter's girlfriend Leanne Battersby being a former prostitute, which left George and Eve stunned.
Blanche took an extended break in Portugal in late 2009 to see her friend May Penn. On 3rd May 2010, Blanche was due to return home but died that very morning. Her friend May visited Ken and Deirdre and told them that Blanche wanted to remain in Portugal longer as she had become engaged to a man called Arnold. She also saw Blanche as a very nice sweet woman, which stunned the Barlows as that ran counter to the Blanche they knew. Deirdre was very distraught by the death of her mother, and decided to fly over to Portugal with Ken to piece together Blanche's last days alive. They later returned with the knowledge that her life had ended happily.
Hobbies and interests
- The role was originally given to Patricia Cutts who appeared in two episodes in August 1974. Suffering from depression, she committed suicide on 6th September 1974. The role was then re-cast and given to Maggie Jones, who was originally considered for the role by producer Susi Hush but rejected solely because it was considered that she was well known to the public for her recent starring role as Peggy Barraclough in the Granada series Sam. Maggie had previously appeared in the show in July 1961 as a Policewoman and in December 1967, on the opposite side of the law, as the shoplifter Maggie Monks.
- Blanche was absent from May to November 2003 as Maggie Jones had fallen ill.
- Maggie Jones played the role from 1974 to 2009. The character was written out and killed off in 2010 after the actress passed away on 2nd December 2009. Her final scenes aired on 11th December 2009.
First and last lines
"It's always the same. Ladies' night down t'masonic. It isn't as though they don't know in advance, eh Gary?" (First line)