Created 12th August 2005
Updated 18th July 2007

Veronica ("Vera") Duckworth (née Burton)


Played by & IMDB entry for Elizabeth ("Liz") Dawn

Appeared: 19 August 1974 -

Born: 3 September 1937

Married circa 1957: John Harold ("Jack") Duckworth

Parents: Joss Shackleton (alleged father) and Amy Burton

One Child: Terence ("Terry") Duckworth Born: 4 June 1964

Three Grandsons: Paul Clayton Born in 1986 (whose mother is Andrea Clayton)
Tommy Duckworth Born on 9 September 1992 (whose mother was Lisa Duckworth)
Brad Armstrong Born on 14 February 1997 (whose mother is Tricia Armstrong)

The Following Profile was submitted by Jeremy Larner and is ©2005, 2007 to Jeremy Larner & emmerdale.org

Vera made her first appearance in the show in August 1974 as a loud mouth worker at the Mark Britain Warehouse, which was situated on Coronation Street. She worked along side her best mates Ivy Tilsley and Edna Gee. She was first seen fighting with the management at the warehouse about the retirement age. At that time Vera had split up with her husband Jack and was living with a bingo caller called Don McMasters. In late 1975 the Warehouse burned down and Vera’s mate Edna Gee was killed in the fire. Vera was next seen in mid 1976 when she briefly dated Edna’s husband Fred Gee, however she soon left him and got back together with Jack.

In October 1976 Mike Baldwin arrived and opened a factory on the old Warehouse site and called it “Baldwin’s Casuals” and Vera and Ivy began work there as machinists, Vera then made semi regular appearances from this point onwards and the majority of her storylines were based at the factory, with us learning almost nothing about her outside of work. However she earned herself a reputation as being one of the most loudmouthed employees at the factory. In 1978 Vera was involved when the workers went on strike over cleaner Hilda Ogden’s sacking, and they won when Hilda was reinstated.

Until November 1979 her husband Jack was often mentioned but never seen, that was until the wedding of Brian and Gail’s Tilsley in November 1979 where the Duckworths were guests and Jack made his first on screen appearance. In 1981 Vera left Jack a second time for a bloke called Harry, and Ivy was upset when Vera used her house and bed to entertain her fella. However once again she got back together with Jack. In 1982 it was Jack’s turn to play away when he had a fling with barmaid Bet Lynch, Vera was furious when she found out and told Bet she was welcome to him in front of a pub full of regulars. In 1983 Jack joined a video-dating agency, calling himself Vince St Clair and told everyone he was in show business. Bet also joined the same dating agency and was speechless when she was shown the video of Jack as Vince. However she couldn’t resist persuading Vera to go to the same agency hoping she would see the video. Vera was furious with Bet for making a fool of her, but eventually came around when Bet helped her to get her revenge on Jack. Vera pretended to be a date who had wanted to go out with him and arranged to meet him in the Rovers, he was mortified when he discovered it was Vera who chased him out of the pub shouting she would be a widow when she got hold of him.

In September 1983 the Duckworth’s moved from their home in Inkerman Street and bought Number 9 Coronation Street. However before they moved in Jack had used the house to store some furniture, which resulted in it almost being taken away when the removal men arrived to move the previous owners furniture. The Duckworth’s son Terry also made his first appearance and moved into the house with them. The following year Vera was up in court after being caught without a TV licence, however although she feared she would be sent to prison she received a fine.

After Stan Ogden died, Vera and Terry bought Stan’s window cleaning round so that Jack would have some work. However Jack soon began an on/off affair with one of his customers, Dulcie Froggatt, which continued after he gave up his window cleaning round to work as cellar man at the rovers. However Terry also began sleeping with Dulcie, and her husband thinking it was Jack, tracked him down and hit him. Vera was devastated when she found out and threw him out, but as always she came around.

In 1985 the Clayton family moved into the house next door to the Duckworths and Terry started seeing Andrea Clayton. Vera also had a dress made by Connie but refused to pay for it. War was declared but Terry paid behind his mother's back which made Vera angry when she found out. However the entire family moved away after Andrea became pregnant, so Vera was forced to accept she would have no contact with her grandchild.

In 1986 Vera received a letter from a magazine called “Women’s Choice” informing her that she had won a brand new car in a competition. However she was puzzled as she never entered a competition, until Jack confessed it was him who had entered the Husband of the Year competition with the winning slogan “My husband is husband of the year because right from the day we got married he has made my life one long honeymoon” Vera was bemused at the slogan, but was delighted to get one over on Jack as he couldn’t claim the car as his own, because he had entered the competition in her name. So Vera ended up taking driving lessons, but while out on a drive in the country with Jack she ended up crashing the car into a lamp post. Jack sued her for £600 to compensate for his injuries amd won, but he didn't have a bank account so it went into hers.

In 1987 Vera’s mother Amy turned up and moved in with the Duckworths, Jack wasn’t keen and insisted Amy get a job, which she did as Hilda Ogden’s replacement at the Rovers. However Amy soon left after being caught stealing from the Corner Shop after Vera had initailly accused Alf of picking on her family. Curly Watts moved in as lodger.

In 1989 Vera discovered that Jack had taken barmaid Tina Fowler out for an expensive meal, and gave Tina a piece of her mind in front of the whole pub, and threw a glass of ale at her, except she ended up accidentally throwing the ale over Alec instead which resulted in her temporarily being banned from the pub!. She got her revenge on Jack by cutting all his trousers up so he couldn’t leave the house!

In the early 1990s Vera received the news that her mother had passed away, however she was stunned when Joss Shacklton arrived and told her that he was her real father and that he was also was the illegitimate child of King Edward VII. Vera was delighted to think she was a cousin of the Queen. Joss moved in with the Duckworths at Number 9 for a short time but soon moved to a flat, resulting in Curly moving next door to number 7.

In 1992 Vera hired a private detective to try and track down her grandson Paul, however this later led to Jack telling her that Paul had been adopted. Just after this, Terry returned home after a 5-year absence and told a thrilled Vera she was to become a grandmother again, as his girlfriend Lisa was pregnant. However a short while later Lisa turned up unexpectedly at the Duckworth’s to inform then that Terry was on remand in prison for GBH. Lisa insisted that Terry was innocent and the couple arranged to get married. During the wedding Vera begged with the guards to take off Terry’s handcuffs in order for photographs to be taken, but Terry used this opportunity to escape from the guards and go on the run, leaving poor Lisa shocked and upset as to whether he actually loved her. Terry contacted Vera and arranged to meet her at Bettabuys supermarket so she could give him some cash, however he was seen on the security camera’s by supermarket manager Reg Holdsworth who informed the police, this led to Terry being caught and taken back to prison, where he was later handed a sentence for 3 years. There was good news around the corner for Vera however, Lisa give birth to her grandson Tommy in September 1992, however Lisa’s friendship with Des Barnes made Vera uneasy and she informed Terry who arranged for Des to be beaten up. Seeing what sort of a man she was married to led Lisa’s friendship with Des to turn into an affair and she moved in with him.

In February 1993 Vera was dealt a huge blow though when Lisa was knocked down and killed outside the Rovers, although they weren’t on the best of terms at the time Vera was devastated, and put all her energy into looking after baby Tommy. 1993 had an even worst end for Vera, first her father Joss died, then Terry was released from prison and sold baby Tommy to the Hortons (Tommy's maternal grandparents), claiming Vera was too old to look after a baby. Vera was absolutely devastated, however eventually her pain eased especially when the Hortons allowed the Duckworths to visit Tommy in Blackpool.

In early 1994 Vera discovered a china dog she had inherited from her father was worth forty five pounds, but if she found a pair it could be worth a lot more. Jack however needed some easy cash and sold the dog to an antiques shop, and when Vera and Ivy saw it in the window she bought it back thinking she had found a pair. However Vera was furious when she found out the dog she had bought was her own and she threw it at Jack in the Street.

In the summer of 1994 Jack and Vera visited Tommy in Blackpool, and Vera met up with an old flame called Lester Fontayne. Lester offered Vera a new life away from Weatherfield and despite being very tempted she declined and returned to home where she confessed all to Jack and decided she loved him too much to leave him.

In 1995 the Duckworths came into money after Jack’s brother Cliff died and they got an insurance pay out for £30,000. Originally the Duckworth’s decided to spend the money on a house or the corner shop, but when Bet Gilroy left the Rovers, the Duckworths sold their house to the Mallets and put in an offer for the Rovers which was accepted. However there was a slight hitch. For years, Jack had dreamed of being licensee but because he had a criminal record, it wasn't possible. So Vera decided that her name was to go above the door so the new licensee was “VERONICA DUCKWORTH”.

In 1997 Vera became a grandmother for the 3rd time after Tricia Armstrong gave birth to Terry’s son, Brad. In typical Terry style, he had disappeared when he found out but Jack and Vera stood by her and the baby was delivered in the Rovers back room with the help of Betty. Later in the year the Duckworths celebrated their ruby wedding with a trip to Las Vegas, where it was discovered that Jack had lied about his age on their wedding licence so Vera was convinced they weren’t legally married and were living in sin. This was soon rectified when they had a wedding in Las Vegas and returned home without telling their neighbours. The Duckworths had financial problems so Alec Gilroy bought a share in the Rovers from them. However, when they had yet more financial problems in 1998 Alec bought them out completely and changed the locks while they were on holiday in Blackpool visiting Tommy. It was only Rita Sullivan alerting them to what was happening that prompted their return from Blackpool and after managing to get in, they were determined not to leave. Alec wanted them gone so resorted to removing the staircase in the hope they would concede defeat due to hunger. But he hadn't banked on the neighbours rallying round and supplying them with food and drink. He gave in and agreed they could stay living and working there. Alec ended up selling the pub when his romance with Rita broke down to barmaid Natalie Barnes and left the area. Natalie then became the new landlady, and the Duckworths were forced to move into a Bed and Breakfast run by Eunice Gee. When Eunice left the area, the Duckworths took over the running of the B and B and took Tyrone Dobbs in as a lodger, who became like a son to Vera. Terry turned up like the bad penny in late 1999 and sold Vera a posh car, which turned out to be a death trap. This resulted in an accident involving Vera and Judy Mallett, which later resulted in Judy dropping dead in the backyard in 1999. Once again the Duckworth’s disowned Terry. Jack and Vera invited Gary and the twins over to the B&B for Christmas dinner. Everything was going fine until Terry turned up on the doorstep. Gary, unable to control his anger any longer, got into a fight with Terry who ended up the loser when they threw their errant son out.

In late 2000 Vera got a visit from Andrea Clayton, mother of her eldest grandson, Paul. Andrea wanted Vera to help her to track down Terry as Paul was ill and desperately needed a kidney transplant. After tracking Terry down he agreed to the transplant on condition he was paid for it. However he ran off with the money without donating the kidney so Vera’s life was put a risk as she herself donated one of her own kidneys so that her grandson’s life would be saved. Jack thought she was mad to even consider risking such a major operation at her age but she was determined. The operation went well until Vera slipped into a coma which was brought on due to an allergic reaction to the drugs. Curly stayed with Jack at the house as Jack read a letter Vera left for him in case she didn't wake up. In it, she told him she wasn't sure Terry was his son as she had had an affair. Jack told Curly he'd known about the affair for years and there was no doubt Terry was his son as he recognised himself at the same age. Vera pulled through and returned home to Number 9 where she was now living with Jack again, after Gary Mallet had moved on, and Jack made out he hadn't read the letter. Unbeknownst to them, Terry had been lurking at the hospital checking on his mother and was pleased when she came round.

The following year, Vera and Jack heard the news that Terry was once again in trouble with the police and in prison. A furious Jack refused to have anything to do with him, however once again Vera persuaded him to help Terry.

In 2002 Vera and Jack invested money with Richard Hillman, however the following year Vera was furious when Richard lost all of their savings. Following Richard’s death, Vera threw a brick through his widow Gail Platt’s window although she soon came around. Vera also started working at Roys Rolls on Rosamund Street and in 2004 became housekeeper to Frankie Baldwin who lives next door to her at number 7.

In late 2004, Jack concocted a scheme with his friend to persuade Vera to agree to let him have pigeons again. So they pretended he was from the North-West Conservation Society and their house had been shortlisted to be turned into a museum, with the possibility of Prince Charles opening it. Vera was delighted and told everyone. But then while out shopping for a new outfit in the classy shops, she was mugged and they made off with Frankie's handbag. Surprisingly when she discovered the deception after Ken Barlow told her the man was a pigeon fancier, Vera never once remarked about her recent trauma though got her own back by pretending she'd cooked pigeon pie. Within weeks she was back at work.

The Duckworths continue to provide some much needed comedy. On Christmas Day 2004 Vera wasn’t amused when Jack presented her with a card which was the same one he got the previous year. He claimed the words in the verse were so appropriate about his feelings for Vera he couldn’t find another card which was as suitable, however Vera threw him out of the house insisting he couldn’t return until he brought her another card. On seeing the Duckworths rowing in the street, Steve McDonald stood watching them and asked Vera if she ever got sick of rowing. Steve broke down and told Vera that Karen had miscarried their baby, and Vera comforted a devastated Steve. Jack bumped into Neighbour Frankie Baldwin in the Street and after telling her what happened she invited Jack to join the Baldwin family for Christmas Dinner. Vera was furious when she heard that Jack was next door and refused Frankie’s invite to join them also. By New Years Eve Vera had forgiven Jack and they enjoyed celebrating in the Rovers with the rest of the regulars singing Auld Lang Syne.

Recently Vera has become very concerned about her lodger and surrogate son Tyrone Dobbs as he is once again dating hairdresser and maneater Maria Sutherland. Despite Jack finding out from Warren Baldwin that Maria had been cheating on Tyrone with a footballer and informing Tyrone of the truth, Tyrone has still proposed to Maria and Vera was less than happy when they announced their engagement.

A while later Tyrone split up from Maria once again and started going out with Molly who later moved into Number 9. Vera gets on very well with the young couple.

In 2007 Vera had an accident after falling over some of Jack’s pigeon magazines and down the stairs. Vera was laid up for weeks in the house and Molly and Tyrone became almost full time carers, especially when Jack was also laid up due to his back. Molly was keen for Tyrone and herself to move into their own place and missed out on a flat because they couldn’t leave Jack and Vera.

Molly was getting more frustrated at being a carer for the Duckworths whilst their family never even visited, and decided to ring around a few people from Vera’s address book. She left a message for Terry who never responded but the Duckworth’s eldest grandson Paul did and made a surprise visit to his grandparents. Vera was delighted to see him, although lodger Tyrone has taken an instant dislike to Paul.

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