Barbara Knox, MBE (née Brothwood, formerly Mullaney; born 30 September 1933) is a British actress, known for her long-running portrayal of Rita Sullivan in the ITV soap opera, Coronation Street. She first appeared as Rita for one episode in December 1964, before returning to the show as a full-time cast member in January 1972, a role which she has continued to play for the past 48 years. The character of Rita has become one of the most iconic and beloved characters of any British soap opera. Since the departure of her co-star and friend Eileen Derbyshire, who portrayed Emily Bishop, in January 2016, Knox has become the show's second-longest serving cast member after William Roache, who has portrayed Ken Barlow since the show's first ever episode in 1960. Knox made her professional stage debut in 1962 at the Oldham Coliseum Theatre, had a small role as a dancer in the 1969 remake of Goodbye, Mr. Chips and appeared opposite Ken Dodd in his 1972 comedy series Funny You Should Say That. She won the 1989 TV Times Award for Best Actress for one of her best remembered storylines, involving the Alan Bradley character. In 2006, she won the British Soap Award for Best On-Screen Partnership with Malcolm Hebden, having previously received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2004 ceremony. She was made an MBE in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours.