Hilda Ogden

fictional character from the ITV soap opera Coronation Street

Hilda Ogden (also Crabtree) is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera Coronation Street. She is one of the best-known regular characters in the serial. Her name became synonymous with a classic hard-working Northern working-class woman. She was played by Jean Alexander from 1964 to 1987.

Hilda Ogden
Coronation Street character
Portrayed byJean Alexander
First appearanceEpisode 371
8 July 1964
Last appearanceEpisode 2790
25 December 1987
Introduced byTim Aspinall
Book appearancesCoronation Street: The Complete Saga
Coronation Street: The War Years
ITV Telethon (1990)
The Women of Coronation Street (1998)
ClassificationFormer; regular
OccupationCleaner (1964–1987)
Housekeeper (1987–1998)
HomeHartington, Derbyshire

For much of her period as a character in the Street, Hilda worked as cleaner of The Rovers Return Inn. A gossip and busybody, many of her storylines were used for comedic purposes, though the character was equally used for dramatic effect; a scene in which she wept over the spectacles of her recently deceased husband Stan (Bernard Youens) has been hailed as one of the most moving images in television history.

Alexander quit the role of Hilda in 1987 after 23 years but was persuaded to reprise the part in 1990 for a one-off appearance as part of an ITV Telethon. She has also been seen in a spin-off video in 1998, in which another long-running character, Betty Williams (Betty Driver), visited her at her new home. Both of these appearances are considered canon to the show.

Arguably the serial's most popular character of all time, Hilda was voted the greatest TV character in a Radio Times poll of over 5,000 people. The typical appearance of Hilda, wearing hair curlers and a head scarf, has inspired art and catwalk themes. Despite various producers expressing their desire to see the character return, Jean Alexander was openly critical about the direction Coronation Street had taken, vowing never to reprise the role of Hilda again.

Alexander had previously appeared in 1962 as Mrs. Webb, the landlady of Joan Akers (Anna Cropper), who abducted baby Christopher Hewitt (Victoria Baker).