Buxton woman joins tribute show for famous Corrie relative

Holly Howe on her wedding day with great aunt Jean Alexander, better known to many as Corries Hilda Ogden.
Holly Howe on her wedding day with great aunt Jean Alexander, better known to many as Corries Hilda Ogden.

A Sterndale Moor woman will join stars of stage and screen in a televised tribute to her great aunt - known to millions as a Coronation Street legend.

Holly Howe, 31, will appear in Hilda Ogden’s Last Ta-Ra: A Tribute To Jean Alexander, along with stars of the show and celebrity fans.

Jean’s death in October prompted an outpouring of grief and gratitude from longtime fans of the soap, but her closest relatives chose to maintain their silence.

Holly said: “Because Jean didn’t seek fame or give interviews, people thought she must have had a lonely life - but she just liked her privacy.

“We wanted to respect that and my grandad - Jean’s brother - didn’t want to do the programme at first. He only agreed to it when they said we could all go on, to show Jean was surrounded by love.”

Holly took part in the interview with her grandad Ken Hodgkinson, 92, and mum Valerie Thewlis, 60, who both live in Macclesfield.

They discuss what life was like for Jean before and after she became a household name over 20 years in the soap.

Holly said: “It was strange to be asked how she would like to be remembered. I don’t think she ever tried to leave a legacy or make a mark. She felt very lucky to have helped create such a great character that so many people loved, and was happy with her success - but she was just as normal and daft as the rest of us.”

The family’s first Christmas will be different for Jean’s loss, but has also provided cause to celebrate her life.

Holly said: “We have a big family gathering every year, and this time many of Jean’s friends came too.

“My mum found hundreds of old theatre programmes, and it was lovely to see how much Jean had done, and how glamorous she always was.”

She added: “I’d read so many tributes from fans - it was comforting to have people put my grief into words better than I could.

“Hopefully the show will give everyone the complete picture.”

The programme will be broadcast on ITV on Tuesday, December 20, at 8pm.