Alma Baldwin in Coronation Street was the smart, sassy cafe owner who fell for womaniser Mike Baldwin.
She had a fling with Ken Barlow, cheated death at the hands of Don Brennan, and introduced Roy Cropper to his true love Hayley.
Alma died in 2001 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer and her storyline is currently playing on Classic Corrie on ITV3.
Alma was in business with Gail (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)
Alma’s arrival in Coronation Street
Alma got ownership of the Corrie cafe, which was then called Jim’s Cafe, in her divorce settlement from husband Jim Sedgewick in 1982.
However, by 1989, Alma had hit money troubles and so sold a share of the cafe to Gail Platt.
The pair ran the business together successfully for many years.
Alma and Mike had a stormy romance (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)
Coronation Street: Alma and Mike Baldwin
Alma fell hard for charming businessman Mike Baldwin and after a bumpy start the pair moved in together.
But Mike broke Alma’s heart when he dumped her for Jackie Ingram and married her.
Alma was distraught and got revenge by vandalising Jackie’s bedroom.
However it was clear Mike had doubts over his choice. He started paying rent on the cafe for Alma without her knowing.
Alma had turned to Ken Barlow for comfort, but when Mike and Jackie’s marriage broke up after she discovered the rent payments, Mike realised Alma was the one for him.
She broke it off with Ken, and she and Mike got back together and married in 1992.
Their marriage was rocky, though, with Mike constantly underestimating his wife.
Stephen was the object of Alma’s affections for a while (Credit: ITV)
Alma Baldwin and Stephen Reid
Poor Alma knew Mike had an eye for the ladies, and when she was feeling particularly under-appreciated, she developed a crush on Stephen Reid.
Stephen is Audrey‘s son – Gail’s brother – and Alma fancied him rotten. She made a drunken pass at him which he turned down.
Meanwhile, Mike had got his clothing business back thanks to winning a contract from Stephen.
He fleeced Don Brennan by selling him his garage at a too-high price and went back to the factory.
Alma introduced her friend Hayley to Roy Cropper (Credit: ITV/YouTube)
More drama for Alma and Mike
Don fell apart, and when Stephen heard what had happened, he cancelled the contract with Mike. Mike blamed Alma. What a mess!
Fortunately Mike and Alma managed to get back on an even keel though Stephen continued to cause problems for them for a while.
Alma wanted to sell her share of the cafe to help Mike financially and Stephen accused her of ruining Gail’s business to get back at him. As if!
She eventually sold her share of the cafe to Roy Cropper. And when Alma took a job at Firman’s Freezers, she met Hayley Patterson.
She introduced Roy to Hayley, and the rest is history!
Don Brennan kidnapped Alma (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)
Coronation Street: Alma Baldwin and Don Brennan
Things with Don Brennan weren’t over, though.
First he burned down the factory, framing Mike for arson.
When that didn’t work, he kidnapped poor Alma, bundled her into his car, and drove round Weatherfield in a terrifying rampage, before plunging into the canal.
Alma only just escaped with her life and Don went to a psychiatric hospital.
Later, Alma visited Don and he apologised. But when he escaped he attacked Mike, then stole Alma’s car and drove it off the viaduct and died.
Alma’s cancer diagnosis left her devastated (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)
What happened to Alma?
Mike and Alma eventually divorced in 1999 after he had another affair. Alma went back to her maiden name, Halliwell.
Alma moved in with Audrey and began a friendly relationship with ex-Frescho’s security guard Frank O’Connor. They planned to move in together and live in Shropshire.
However tragedy was soon to strike.
A missed smear test and a misdiagnosis led to Alma being diagnosed with cervical cancer in May 2001.
After several tests at the hospital it was revealed the cancer was too far advanced and was terminal.
Alma was devastated, but forced to accept she was going to die.
Meanwhile, best friend Audrey struggled to cope with the news.
She visited doctor Matt who told her the hospital was at fault and had the smear test mix-up not happened, Alma could have been saved. He insisted he wouldn’t let it lie.
When Curly Watts was elected to local council, he made it his first job to call for a full public enquiry into the blunder.
Alma had Mike’s support as she became more frail (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)
Alma kept her diagnosis between her and Audrey at first.
However, when Audrey accidentally let slip to Mike, he tracked Alma down to where she was holidaying at the Lakes.
He told her he’d never stopped loving her and was going to leave wife Linda to spend Alma’s final days with her.
They had a lovely few days away together, but Alma ultimately made Mike promise to go back to Linda.
Once they arrived home, Alma collapsed and was taken to hospital. She discovered her kidneys had failed and she didn’t have long left to live.
She insisted she didn’t want to die in hospital and needed to go home. Mike took her back to Audrey’s.
He stayed and nursed her alongside Ken. Audrey, who had been in London for a break, returned just in time.
As Audrey arrived in Alma’s bedroom to say goodbye on June 15 2001, Dr Matt took Alma’s pulse and revealed she had died.
Amanda Barrie and wife Hayley recently appeared on Loose Women (Credit: ITV/ITV Hub)
Who played Alma Baldwin in Coronation Street? Is Amanda Barrie still alive in real life?
Alma was played by established stage and television actress Amanda Barrie.
She was known to viewers already thanks to her parts in classic British films including playing Cleopatra in Carry On Cleo.
She was in One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing, and had a guest role in Are You Being Served.
After leaving Corrie, Amanda took on the role of Bev Tull in prison drama Bad Girls.
Amanda was married to theatre director Robin Hunter for many years. They separated in the eighties but never divorced.
Later Amanda came out as bisexual in her autobiography, It’s Not A Rehearsal. In 2014, she married her long-term partner, crime writer Hilary Bonner.
Amanda was born in 1935, making her 86 years old.
She is still alive and happily living in Somerset with wife Hilary.
Amanda Barrie hit out at Alma’s death
When her exit scenes aired on screen. the actress made it known she was not happy with the way Alma’s death was handled.
In an interview with The Sun back in 2001, Amanda said: “If you are going to take an issue like this and use it for entertainment you have to be just so very, very careful.
“From the moment I learned what was going to happen I was extremely anxious about it.
“And as Alma’s illness and deterioration proceeded with such amazing speed I really did feel I was being asked to take part in a cheap ratings ploy.
“I didn’t like it one bit.”
Indeed, at the time a spokesperson for Cancer Research told The Guardian: “The storyline was quite unrealistic.
“It’s highly unlikely that someone who had previously had negative smears would be suddenly be diagnosed as being in the terminal stages.”
However, Macmillan Cancer Relief told the same publication: “The way in which Alma reacted to her diagnosis was handled in a sensitive and positive way, and the programme also raised awareness of the need for friends and family affected by cancer to have support and information available to them.”
The storyline also spurred lots of women on to get smear tests.
Read more: Who is in the cast of Coronation Street 2022? Meet the full line-up
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm for an hour.
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