She is wise witty and waspish and one of the warmest and funniest women on the Street,
but watch out because Rita has claws and she is one very fiery red head.
Her double acts over the years in the Kabin, first with Mavis and then with Norris, have
provided us all with genuine belly laughs, but Rita is also a true queen of drama.
One of of the finest pieces of acting I have ever seen on Corrie, was when Rita was told her beloved husband Len Fairclough had died and she became a widow. Len was killed in a car accident in 1983 and Rita, not only had to face up to the loss of the man she loved, but also the realisation he was having an affair. Those scenes of a grief-stricken Rita, were so raw and full of pain, it was almost too hard to watch all that suffering.
Rita was also involved in a disturbing plot when vile Alan Bradley tried to kill her. He eventually met his end under the wheels of a Blackpool tram in 1989.
Rita first appeared in the street in I964 as an 'exotic dancer' and then went on to become a nightclub singer. After a few voddies and tonic she can sometimes be cajoled into belting
out a tune, although it hasn't happened for a while.
Apart from being widowed twice (Ted Sullivan died of a brain tumour after just three months of marriage) I think the biggest tragedy of Rita's life was that she never had and children of her own.She and Len fostered Sharon Gaskell and after she died, Rita fostered surly teen Jenny Bradley and began the ill-fated relationship with Jenny's dad Alan.
Rita is young at heart and gets on well with teenagers and twenty somethings, she sees a
lot of herself in young Tina and has helped her through tough times recently.
She used to be close to Sally Webster and her two daughters, but became disgusted
with selfish Rosie's behaviour. She was, however, very supportive of Sophie when she
came out as a lesbian.
Rita is a classy woman and nobody's fool.