Corrie Emily Bishop stars life – well-known son, co-star bond and tragic death

Coronation Street's Eileen Derbyshire stepped onto the cobbles as Emily Bishop in 1961 and didn't leave until 2016, making her one of the longest-serving stars of a UK soap.

Technically speaking, she could still add to her 55 years in Weatherfield as Emily wasn't killed off when she left.

The actress left the show for personal reasons and at the time it wasn't clear whether her departure was permanent or not.

Emily's exit was explained as a trip to Peru to spend time with a relative, so the door is open for Eileen to reprise her role if she wanted to.

In the five years since she has left, the star has kept back from the spotlight, but Daily Star has taken a look at what she's been up to.

Surprise return to the soap

Eileen did make one surprise return to the cobbles.

Fans were not expecting to see her and they were thrilled when she popped up in an episode of the ITV soap in 2019.

Emily appeared as her close pal Ken Barlow (William Roache) celebrated his 80th birthday in the Rovers Return surrounded by his friends and family.

She wasn't there to celebrate with him in person but had recorded a video message for her old friend.

At the time, soap insiders said Corrie bosses were keen to get the actress back on the cobbles.

A source told The Sun: "Talks are always on-going between Eileen and Coronation Street bosses, nothing has been confirmed yet but the conversation is always open."

Being a godparent and grandmother

Eileen is godparent to a few of her co-stars' children, showing the close bond the soap stars during their time together on the soap.

Three of William's children count her as their godmum, as does Barbara Knox's daughter Maxine.

The star is also a grandmother, as her son Oliver now, who is a notable sports journalist for The Mail on Sunday, has three children of his own.

Eileen is known to be a private person

The star isn't seen out and about very much and does not give many interviews, even at the height of her fame on the programme.

It's also rare to see her walking the red carpet at awards shows and premieres as she seems to prefer life away from the limelight.

Her son Oliver has previously said it is not that his mum is reclusive, just that she is a "private" person.

He has also been quoted as saying that Eileen is "one of the last of a dying breed of old-fashioned actresses who do it for the love of acting, not for all the attendant publicity".

Loss of her husband of 56 years

The actress's husband Thomas W Holt died this year after a long battle with Alzheimer's.

Eileen had been with the retired engineer since they met in 1964, and the couple lived in a cottage in Cheshire.

Their son Oliver announced his father's death as he wrote about their shared love of football in his column for the Mail Online.

He recalled how his dad took him to his first ever game at Stockport County's Edgeley Park.

"My dad never forgot Stockport even when he was deep into his struggle with Alzheimer's Disease," he wrote.

"He wanted to go back there and revisit all the places of his youth. Sometimes, he asked me if I'd give him the bus fare for the journey."

Corrie viewers still miss Emily

Corrie viewers still regularly mention Emily on social media and ponder what she might be up to in Peru.

There was disappointment all around when Norris Cole's funeral aired and she didn't show up.

"Norris Cole's funeral and no Emily Bishop," tweeted one person, alongside an emoji of a broken heart.

"Would have been nice if we could of got either a video call or one off appearance from Emily Bishop in this storyline about Norris death but it's not to be," said another.

"I so miss the gentle days when Emily Bishop would pour Norris a cup of tea in her parlour and chat about local gossip," said another.

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