Veronica "Vera" Duckworth (née Burton) was a former Rovers Return Inn landlady and longstanding Coronation Street resident along with her husband of fifty years, Jack.

Vera had been a member of the Baldwin's Casuals workforce for seven years when the Duckworths bought 9 Coronation Street in 1983, following an earlier period employed at the Mark Brittain Warehouse in the same location. One of her colleagues was Ivy Tilsley, Vera's best friend of many years. Vera was known for her big mouth and fiery temper, and Jack for his roving eye and laziness; in Coronation Street they the butt of jokes and generally looked down upon.

On the surface, Vera and Jack's marriage appeared unstable as they bickered constantly and had little trust or respect for each other. And yet, deep down they did love each other. Their only child was Terry, once the apple of his mother's eye and later a thorn in his father's side. Vera lost her faith in Terry when he sold his son Tommy to Tommy's other grandparents for £10,000. On the occasion that Terry would return to Weatherfield, he would convince Vera that he'd turned over a new leaf only to break her heart again.

Vera had social pretensions but questionable tastes. In 1989, she had No.9 stone-clad, and she was also behind naming the house "The Old Rectory". Upon the demolition of Baldwin's Casuals, Vera gained employment as a supermarket worker at Bettabuy, and in 1995 she realised her dream of becoming a respected member of the community when she became the licensee of the Rovers Return. She and Jack served as landlords until 1998 when their partner Alec Gilroy bought them out and fired them as staff. The Duckworths' next venture was the Park Road B&B, which they ran for two years before buying No.9 again, for sentimental reasons. Vera had several more low-paid jobs until her retirement in 2007, her latter being a waitress at Roy's Rolls.

The Duckworths were planning a retirement to Blackpool in 2008 but Vera died from heart failure in January.


The Duckworths' marriage

The Duckworth marriage was always rocky due to their wayward son, Terry, and extra-marital flings. In 1982, Jack had an affair with Street man-eater Bet Lynch, and in 1983 he went to a video dating agency - for which he donned a snazzy suit, assumed a fake name (Vince St Clair) and adopted an American accent. Vera, alerted by Bet Lynch, was shocked to see Jack's video. She met him in the Rovers under the name "Carole Monroe" wearing a ginger wig. When she turned around, poor Jack was stunned!

Vera also had her fair share of lovers: she was tempted by a former romance in 1991 in Blackpool, but stayed with her husband. In 2000, when she believed she could die during in an operation, she confessed to Jack that Terry might not be his real son, but was the product of a fling early in their marriage. Jack told Curly Watts he had always known about the affair and was convinced Terry was his as, to his shame, they are very alike.

Working & workmates

Vera had a variety of jobs over the years. In 1974, she was working in the Mark Brittain Warehouse on Coronation Street working alongside Ivy Tilsley and Edna Gee. Also working at the warehouse were Ken Barlow, Gail Potter, and Tricia Hopkins.

The warehouse suffered a fire in October 1975 and closed down. Mike Baldwin bought the burnt out building in 1976, had it refurbished, and opened up his clothing factory, Baldwin's Casuals. Vera worked at the factory as a machinist, working alongside many of the Street's residents including Ivy Tilsley, Elsie Tanner, Ida Clough, Shirley Armitage and Ernie and Emily Bishop. After working at the factory for thirteen years, Mike Baldwin sold it in 1989 to developers, and it was demolished.

Vera had a career change after her lodger Curly Watts got her a job at Bettabuy supermarket in 1989, working under boss Reg Holdsworth. Workmates included Kimberley Taylor and again, Ivy Tilsley.

Jack vera rovers

The Duckworths' dream comes true

In 1995, the Duckworths inherited some money after the death of Jack's brother Clifford, and they bought the Rovers, with Vera becoming the landlady. After four years in the pub, it all went pear-shaped and they sold to Alec Gilroy. For a short time in 1999, Vera and Jack moved into Park Road B&B, and when proprietor Eunice Gee moved to Spain to help her sister Dolly run a bar, she left Jack and Vera as managers of the B&B. When Eunice sold the business, Vera decided to slow down a bit and got a job in Roy's Rolls working alongside Roy and Hayley Cropper, Frankie Baldwin and Becky Granger. In 2007, after a fall in which Vera hurt her ankle, she decided to retire for good.

Wedding in Las Vegas

Another thing that rocked Vera's world was when, during their trip to the United States, Jack confessed to having lied at their wedding (by making a smudge on his year of birth to make it look like another number), and said he was two years older than he really was to impress Vera. Since they were not legally married, they tied the knot in the famous Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas.

Children and grandchildren

The Duckworths had three grandsons: Paul (by Andrea Clayton), Tommy (by Lisa Horton), and Brad (by Tricia Armstrong), but didn't see them for a long time due to Terry's reluctance to be a father.

Paul was conceived in the mid-1980s, but Andrea Clayton fled with her family to escape Terry. In the early 1990s, Terry made his girlfriend, Lisa Horton, pregnant. He was imprisoned but vowed to marry her, and the pair were delighted when Terry was allowed out of prison (albeit handcuffed) for his wedding. They duly married and the groom tried to make a run for it from the police, and he revealed that he only married a heartbroken Lisa to try to escape. She gave birth to Tommy and set up home with Des Barnes, but tragically was run over and killed. Jack and Vera took the little boy in, but while they loved having their grandson, they found it difficult to make ends meet, as Vera had quit her job to care for Tommy full-time. Regardless of this, she looked forward to Christmas, as Terry was due to be released from prison and she hoped they would then be a proper family. However it wasn't to be, as upon leaving prison, Terry took Tommy to Lisa's parents in Blackpool and returned without him, having agreed to give him to the Hortons in exchange for £2,000 a year. Vera could only sit by and watch as Terry lied that he had done it for Jack and Vera's sake, causing Jack to punch and disown his son. Despite pleading with Terry and Lisa's father to return him, they refused. Terry quickly left the Street and Vera was left completely devastated.

Finally, a one-night stand with barmaid Tricia Armstrong resulted in baby Brad, but Terry didn't want to know, and she left with a new lover. The Duckworths tried several times to win Tommy from the Hortons, but to no avail.

Royal ancestors?

In 1991, at Vera's mother Amy Burton's funeral, a man named Joss Shackleton approached Vera and told her that he was the father she had never known. He also stunned her when he let her in on the family secret — his father was the illegitimate grandson of King Edward VII, thus Vera believed herself to be a second cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II. Joss lived with the Duckworths for a while before moving into his old flat, where he died of a heart attack a short time later.

Jack's Christmas present

Jack and Vera calmed down over the years and took in the likes of Tyrone Dobbs as a surrogate son for wayward Terry, who was often in prison or some sort of trouble. They were very well known as a down-to-earth northern couple and comic double act. Jack adored keeping pigeons, but Vera could not stand them. In 2006, Jack agreed to sell his dead body for a certain sum of cash to an artist who enjoys painting stuffed humans, so he could buy Vera a Christmas present. When Vera discovered this, she argued with the woman, who then turned up, inspired by Vera, they agreed to both pose for the artist, but on condition that they would be buried as normal.


Vera was restricted for most of 2007 to her house due to an injury to her ankle and was cared for by Tyrone Dobbs and Molly Compton. They bought her a baby monitor so Jack, Molly and Tyrone could talk to Vera while they were in the pub. Later, Jack and Vera's grandson Paul Clayton arrived on the Street but little did Vera know that Paul was scamming Jack and Vera out of money, stealing money from Jack and blaming it on Tyrone. Vera was disappointed in Tyrone but Molly was adamant that Tyrone hadn't stolen the money. Vera refused to believe this of Molly and could never believe that her own flesh and blood could steal from her. Jack and Vera celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary with a party at the Rovers in August 2007. Vera decided that she and Jack were to move to their dream place of Blackpool but Paul was forced to confess to Jack that he had stolen the money for the house. Jack was appalled but had to keep it secret from Vera as he didn't want to hurt her and destroy her dreams. Vera still desperately wanted to move to Blackpool so Jack eventually told Vera that he spent a lot of the money they saved to help Paul buy his half of the restaurant, but added the excuse that he spent it before he knew they were going to Blackpool. Jack knew that if he told Vera the truth she would be heart broken and she was still greatly upset and went to bed to get over the shock.

Moving to Blackpool

On 7th January 2008, Vera wanted to further her plans to move to Blackpool so Tyrone went to Blackpool to get her property brochures to help them decide which properties they could afford, Vera was overjoyed and grateful that she had more choice. On 11th January, Vera picked a house in Blackpool that she wanted her and Jack to move to, she and Jack put in an offer for the house for £10,000 less than the asking price, Vera picked up the phone and said that she felt like she was going to have one of her "premonitions." Vera's "premonitions" were right and the phone rang after Molly and Tyrone came back into the house and told Jack and Vera that they wanted to put in an offer for the house, Vera and Jack were elated as were Molly and Tyrone. On 14th January, Vera was making further preparations for the move and even started packing. Some objects brought back memories for her and she wanted Paul to stay on and live with Molly and Tyrone at No.9, Jack told her that they should leave them to sort out the living arrangements, but Tyrone was later convinced by Molly to let Paul stay for the extra rent. On 15th January, Molly was deciding plans for the house for after Jack and Vera were leaving. Vera saw her plans to add wooden floorings but Vera cut in saying that the houses on the street were simple for "simple" working-class people, Tyrone and Jack agreed with Vera as she reminisced about serving meals and her time at No.9, Vera became a bit reluctant and asked Jack if they were doing the right thing. Later Jack, Vera, Molly, Tyrone and Paul all gathered at the Rovers and toasted to their future as they were departing in six weeks time. Vera and Jack were adamant that they wanted to keep their departure under wraps as they didn't want a big fuss.



Vera passes away peacefully in her sleep

On 18th January, Vera and Jack went to Blackpool to measure up the house in preparation for their move there in six weeks' time. Vera complained that her shoes were uncomfortable. Meanwhile, Paul had found an old photo of the couple from when they were younger and had taken it to get a copy in better condition, which pleasantly surprised Jack and Vera when they returned. Vera complained about her shoes and Jack sat her down and pulled them off. Vera told Jack that she loved him and she had never loved any one else and pushed Jack to say the same. A little reluctantly, as always, he did and grabbed her slippers for her. He then said that he was going to go to the Rovers for a short while and although Vera tried to insist on him staying with her. He said he wouldn't be long and he had been with Vera all day and needed some time to real.

When he returned, he found Vera asleep in her armchair. He tried to wake her up but she did not move and when he felt for her pulse, it wasn't there. Vera had died peacefully in her sleep. She was 70 years old. Although shaken, Jack remained calm and kept Vera warm and when Molly and Tyrone arrived with drinks for a celebration, Jack broke the news to them. An emotional Tyrone fetched Paul from work who too broke down in tears. When the paramedics arrived, they explained that Vera had died from heart failure in her sleep but said that she hadn't experienced any pain. When a concerned Betty, Emily, Rita, Dev and Roy saw the ambulance outside, Jack told them that Vera had died. They expressed their condolences and shock that Vera had gone. News quickly spread around Weatherfield. One time enemies, Paul and Tyrone, united to comfort each other and Jack ended up in the yard, talking to his pigeons in tears, saying how beautiful Vera was and how much he loved her.



Jack 'reunites' with Vera before his passing.

Vera was referenced numerous times since her death. In 2009 Jack had grown close to widow and fellow pigeon lover Connie Rathbone. Later that year he had moved out of 9 Coronation Street to live with Connie and allow Tyrone and Molly to live their own lives. On the last day, he reminisced the first day he and Vera first moved into the street and that she had gotten into an argument with Hilda Ogden. Although living with Connie for the next year, Jack had kept the relationship purely friendship and honored Vera's memory.

In 2010 Jack was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma with not long to live, and returned to No.9 in order to die there. On 7th November (his 74th birthday) Jack returned home after a birthday celebration in the Rovers and lay in Vera's chair. There he had witnessed a vision of Vera there to take him away. Vera had told him to get a move on as the "bus" was arriving. The both of them shared a kiss and a dance, signalling that Jack had passed away.

Background information

Vera duckworth

Elizabeth Dawn first played Vera in 1974

  • Vera had made a one-off appearance in 1974 as a warehouse worker. Two years later, she returned for a full-time appearance. She had also appeared earlier in the year in February, but just in a background briefly in a non-speaking appearance.
  • Elizabeth Dawn quit the show in 2007 due to suffering from a lung disease called emphysema. Despite an offering to reduce her roles to a recurring appearance, Dawn decided to quit instead. The character was later written out of the show and passed away in January 2008, ending 34 years of a popular iconic character.
Promo of Liz Dawn as Vera's Ghost 2012

Promo of Liz Dawn as Vera's ghost for the 2012 Text Santa sketch.

  • In 2010 when Bill Tarmey who played Jack Duckworth quit the role, it was rumoured that Elizabeth would return to the show as a ghost. Liz did in fact return for one scene for Jack's exit, where he passed away and experienced a vision of his late wife.
  • After leaving Coronation Street, Elizabeth reprised the role of the ghost of Vera Duckworth, visiting Norris Cole in a one-off sketch show as part of ITV's Text Santa charity initiative which was broadcast on 21st December 2012.

First and last lines

"I wouldn't know love, I think he's wet." (First line, in response to whether Robert Redford has short legs)


"Well what are you going to do in Blackpool? You will have to stay with me then as I will be the only one you know." (Final line in the programme proper, to husband Jack)

See also

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