Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Pat Phoenix

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Other names
Patricia Pilkington


Pat Phoenix

Years active


Pat Phoenix Coronation Street legend Pat Phoenix39s life was a real

Full Name
Patricia Frederica Manfield

26 November 1923 (
Fallowfield, Manchester, Lancashire, England, UK

Cherie Blair (stepdaughter)Lauren Booth (stepdaughter)

September 17, 1986, Metropolitan Borough of Stockport

Antony Booth (m. 1986–1986), Alan Browning (m. 1972–1979), Peter Marsh (m. 1951–1952)

Thomas Manfield, Anna Maria Josephine Pilkington

Similar People
Antony Booth, Violet Carson, Doris Speed, Peter Adamson, Alan Browning

Coronation Street: Pat Phoenix and the style of Elsie Tanner (2003)

Patricia Frederica Phoenix (born Patricia Frederica Manfield; 26 November 1923 – 17 September 1986) was an English actress who became one of the first sex symbols of British television through her role as Elsie Tanner, an original cast member of Coronation Street.


Granada tv closedown 17th sept 1986 tribute to pat phoenix by announcer jim pope

Early life

Pat Phoenix BBC Radio 4 Woman39s Hour Pat Phoenix scrapbooking

Phoenix was born at St Mary's Hospital in Fallowfield, Manchester, to Anna Maria Josephine (née Noonan), originally of County Galway, Ireland, and Thomas "Tom" Manfield. Phoenix claimed that she had also been born in Galway, although she later stated that she was merely agreeing with something her elderly mother had already told the press.

Pat Phoenix image2findagravecomphotos250photos200572192

When Phoenix was eight years old, her father was involved in a car accident; in court, it was revealed that his marriage was bigamous as he had never divorced his wife, who was living some miles away and who he had been paying maintenance to for many years. She later described this period in her life as a "nightmare", saying that "I lost my safe, secure, normal world". Her mother later married Richard Pilkington.

Phoenix attended Fallowfield Central School. As a child, she nursed early theatrical ambitions, appearing regularly on the radio in Children's Hour at the age of 11, after having submitted a monologue. After leaving school, she worked as a filing clerk for the gas department of Manchester Corporation, performing in amateur dramatics in her spare time. She joined the Arts Theatre in Manchester and other Northern repertory companies.


Phoenix's big break came in 1948, when she played Sandy Powell's wife in the Mancunian Film Studios film Cup-tie Honeymoon, followed by a summer season in Blackpool with Thora Hird in the show Happy Days. Exposure led to more serious work with Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East. She also worked as a writer for ventriloquist Terry Hall and comedian Harry Worth. Some undistinguished film work followed in 1958 (Blood of the Vampire and Jack the Ripper), and in 1960, she returned to Manchester with her ambition all but spent.

Phoenix's fortunes improved when she was given her best known role as Elsie Tanner, the devil-may-care divorcée who lived at No. 11 in Coronation Street. By this time, she had changed her name from Pilkington to Phoenix, after the mythological bird that rose from the ashes. She featured in the programme from 1960 to 1973, and again from 1976 to 1984. In 1972 she was invited to open a brand new speedway track at Ellesmere Port, and her character as Elsie Tanner helped to draw a record crowd of around 10,000 to the track at Thornton Road, Ellesmere Port, home of the "Gunners". Her character became known for her fiery red hair, and was described by Prime Minister James Callaghan as "the sexiest thing on television". During her periods of absence from the series, she failed in her attempts to find suitable alternative roles. She left the series for the final time in January 1984. In the story, her character moved to Portugal to meet up with an old flame until 2004 when the character died in a car crash (off screen).

Phoenix's popularity gained her a part in the British film The L-Shaped Room (1962) in which she played a prostitute, and which also featured her future husband Antony Booth in a small role. After her final departure from Coronation Street, she appeared in a one-act television play, Hidden Talents, in 1986. At this time, she was suffering from advanced lung cancer; in the play, she played a woman dying of cancer. She also starred in short-lived sitcom Constant Hot Water the same year, playing a Bridlington landlady. She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1972 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews on the set of Coronation Street. In 1985, she was interviewed for a magazine by long-time fan, the singer Morrissey, who also featured her on the cover of one of the Smiths' singles, "Shakespeare's Sister".

Personal life

Phoenix's love life was often fodder for tabloid stories. Her first marriage was to actor Peter Marsh, whom she married in Bradford Cathedral; the marriage lasted only a year. In 1972, she married her Coronation Street co-star Alan Browning, who had alcohol-related problems and died from liver failure in 1979. She later married actor Antony Booth, the father-in-law of future Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Phoenix wrote two volumes of autobiography: All My Burning Bridges (1974) and Love, Curiosity, Freckles and Doubt (1983). She was a lifelong supporter of the Labour Party, campaigning for her son-in-law Tony Blair in the 1983 General Election and helping him win his first seat in a landslide majority, and a practising Roman Catholic. She also owned the Navigation Inn, a pub in Buxworth.


Before her death, Phoenix, who smoked up to 60 cigarettes a day, was found to have lung cancer in March 1986 after collapsing at home. She continued to work following her diagnosis, hiding her illness from most people, including her lover Antony Booth. In the summer of 1986, her condition deteriorated, forcing her to undergo more extensive treatment and confirming mild speculation in the press that she had health problems. It later leaked that she had just weeks to live and had been given her last rites.

Phoenix married Booth in Stockport in September 1986, attracting much media attention. Eight days later, she died in her sleep, aged 62. At her request, her funeral service at the Holy Name Church in Manchester featured a large brass band; according to Coronation Street histories written by show historian Daran Little, she wanted the event that marked her death to be as lively as her life. Tony Blair and his wife Cherie were among the mourners.


Since her death, Phoenix has been portrayed by Kym Marsh, Denise Black and Sue Johnston (who would later appear in Coronation Street as Michelle Connor, Denise Osborne and Gloria Price), Lynda Rooke and Jessie Wallace in various dramas depicting her life, both on stage and television. She is commemorated by a blue plaque outside Granada Studios, where she recorded most of her work on Coronation Street.


Unnatural Causes (TV Series) as
- Hidden Talents (1986) - Nellie
Constant Hot Water (TV Series) as
Phyllis Nugent
- Full House (1986) - Phyllis Nugent
- Chef's Special (1986) - Phyllis Nugent
- The Germans Are Coming (1986) - Phyllis Nugent
- One Night in Portofino (1986) - Phyllis Nugent
- Sunday Lunch (1986) - Phyllis Nugent
- Bed and Breakfast (1986) - Phyllis Nugent
Coronation Street (TV Series) as
Elsie Tanner / Elsie Howard
- Epiosde 1 (1960) - Elsie Tanner
Charles Dickens' World of Christmas (TV Movie)(as Pat Phoenix)
Stars on Sunday (TV Series) as
Mrs. Crummles
- Glories of Christmas (1973) - Mrs. Crummles
All Star Comedy Carnival (TV Movie) as
Elsie Tanner
The L-Shaped Room as
Coronation Street: First Dry Run (TV Movie) as
Elsie Tanner
Coronation Street: Second Dry Run (TV Movie)
The Artful Dodger (TV Series)
- Taxi! (1959)
Blackpool Show Parade (TV Series)
- Happy Days (1959) - (as Pat Phoenix)
Jack the Ripper as
Rowdy Woman in the Crowd (uncredited)
ITV Television Playhouse (TV Series)
- Strictly for the Sparrows (1958)
Blood of the Vampire as
Woman (uncredited)
Cup-Tie Honeymoon as
Mrs. Butler (as Patricia Pilkington)
The Lenny the Lion Show (TV Series) (script - 4 episodes)
- Episode #4.4 (1960) - (script)
- Episode #4.3 (1960) - (script)
- Episode #4.2 (1960) - (script)
- Episode #4.1 (1960) - (script)
It's a Grand Life (stunt double - uncredited)
A Night Without Armor (writer: "BLINK OF AN EYE")
Coronation Street (TV Series) (performer - 2 episodes)
- Episode #1.421 (1964) - (performer: "Hey, Look Me Over" - uncredited)
- Episode #1.391 (1964) - (performer: "Over There" - uncredited)
Top Ten (TV Series documentary) as
- Sex Bombs (2001) - Self
Wogan (TV Series) as
Self / Self - Guest
- Episode #6.75 (1986) - Self
- Episode #5.78 (1985) - Self - Guest
- Episode #3.1 (1984) - Self (as Pat Phoenix)
Aspel & Company (TV Series) as
- Episode #2.1 (1985) - Self (as Pat Phoenix)
Looks Familiar (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode #13.14 (1984) - Self - Guest (as Pat Phoenix)
Did You See..? (TV Series) as
- Episode #5.25 (1984) - Self (as Pat Phoenix)
World in Action (TV Series documentary) as
- The Press Gang (1984) - Self
Pebble Mill at One (TV Series) as
- Episode dated 16 September 1983 (1983) - Self
This Is Your Life (TV Series documentary) as
Self / Self - Guest
- Johnny Briggs (1983) - Self
- Diane Keen (1982) - Self
- Julie Goodyear (1980) - Self
- Jack Howarth (1974) - Self - Guest
- Pat Phoenix (1972) - Self
Friday Night, Saturday Morning (TV Series) as
- Episode #1.3 (1979) - Self (as Pat Phoenix)
Mr & Mrs (TV Series)
- Episode dated 21 December 1977 (1977)
Husband of the Year (TV Series) as
- Episode dated 11 April 1975 (1975) - Self (as Pat Phoenix)
Parkinson (TV Series) as
- Episode #4.19 (1975) - Self
Look Who's Talking (TV Series) as
Self - Interviewee
- Pat Phoenix and Alan Browning (1973) - Self - Interviewee (as Pat Phoenix)
A Royal Gala (TV Special) as
Elsie Tanner
Glamour All the Way (TV Movie documentary) as
Self - Judge
Archive Footage
Coronation Street Icons (TV Series documentary) as
Elsie Tanner
- Ken Barlow (2020) - Elsie Tanner (uncredited)
Coronation Street: Compilations (TV Series documentary) as
Elsie Tanner
Coronation Street (TV Series) as
Elsie Tanner
- Episode #1.10000 (2020) - Elsie Tanner
- Episode #1.4745 (2000) - Elsie Tanner (uncredited)
Coronation Street at Christmas (TV Special documentary) as
Elsie Tanner (uncredited)
Hilda Ogden's Last Ta Ra - A Tribute to Jean Alexander (TV Movie) as
Elsie Tanner / Elsie Howard (uncredited)
The Corrie Years (TV Series documentary) as
Elsie Tanner
- The Firsts (2011) - Elsie Tanner (uncredited)
The Stars of the Street: 50 Years, 50 Classic Characters (Video) as
Elsie Tanner / Elsie Howard
The Road to Coronation Street (TV Movie) as
Self (uncredited)
How TV Changed Britain (TV Series documentary) as
Elsie Tanner
- Women (2008) - Elsie Tanner (uncredited)
When Pat Phoenix Met Tony Booth (TV Movie documentary) as
40 Years on Coronation Street (TV Special) as
Elsie Tanner (uncredited)
The Unforgettable Pat Phoenix (TV Movie documentary) as
Self / Elsie Tanner (as Pat Phoenix)
Coronation Street: Through the Keyhole (Video) as
Elsie Tanner / Elsie Howard
Women of Coronation Street (Video) as
Elsie Tanner
The Coronation Street Character Collection (TV Series) as
Elsie Tanner
- Stan and Hilda (1995) - Elsie Tanner
- Rita (1995) - Elsie Tanner
- Len and Elsie (1995) - Elsie Tanner
- Ken and Mike (1995) - Elsie Tanner
- Ken (1995) - Elsie Tanner
- Ena, Minnie and Martha (1995) - Elsie Tanner
- Ena & Elsie (1995) - Elsie Tanner
- Deirdre (1995) - Elsie Tanner
- Bet (1995) - Elsie Tanner
- Alf & Audrey (1995) - Elsie Tanner
- Annie Walker (1995) - Elsie Tanner
The Coronation Street Collection: The Duckworths (Video) as
Elsie Tanner


Pat Phoenix Wikipedia

Similar Topics