Rita Sullivan

Infobox soap character
series = Coronation Street
name = Rita Sullivan
portrayer = Barbara Knox

caption1 = Rita Sullivan in 2006
first = 2 December 1964
last =
residence = No.10a Coronation Street
born = 15 February 1932
years = 1964, 1972-
parents = Harold Littlewood
Amy Littlewood
siblings =
spouse = Harry Bates (1954-1973)
Len Fairclough (1977-1983)
Ted Sullivan (1992)
children =
occupation = Co-owner, The Kabin
books = Coronation Street: The Complete Saga

Rita Sullivan (née Littlewood, previously Fairclough and Bates) is a long running character on "Coronation Street". She is played by Barbara Knox.


Rita was introduced in 1964, although this was a one-off appearance. She returned in 1972 and has appeared consistently since then, maturing from saucy songstress to respected elder and local businesswoman.

The Kabin

Rita currently runs a newsagent's shop in the street, called "The Kabin", which she acquired in 1973 during her relationship with Len. The shop was originally at 14 Rosamund Street, but re-located to Coronation Street when a new building development took place. As the years passed, more and more of Rita's life revolved around the Kabin, although she sometimes considers retiring or selling up.

The scenes in the Kabin are usually a comedy double-act between Rita and her assistant (first Mavis Wilton, now Norris Cole). Rita was often frustrated by Mavis, but they were very dear friends and Rita was sad to see her leave in 1997.

Relationship with Len Fairclough

Rita's 1972 return first saw her with Ken Barlow, as they met through her 12-year old stepson, Terry Bates. Ken was told to end their relationship as she was a married woman.

Rita began dating Len Fairclough, who was none too pleased when he found out she was married. When her marriage ended in violence, Rita leaned on Len and took a job singing in a nightclub. Len soon helped her set up a shop, The Kabin. Fiery Rita and stubborn Len faced a number of obstacles as well as breakups and makeups before finally marrying in 1977. They were unable to adopt, due to their age, but for some time took in a foster child, Sharon Gaskill. In December 1983 Len was killed in a car accident. Rita was devastated to learn he'd been having an affair.

Relationship with Alan Bradley

As well as her two marriages, Rita has had three serious relationships, one with the violent Alan Bradley. Rita met Alan when she was fostering Jenny Bradley and got Jenny in contact with her long-lost father Alan. Alan mortgaged Rita's house using deceased Len Fairclough's name. He used the money to start a security business. When Rita discovered the fraud, Alan's reaction to her anger was to attempt to kill her by suffocating her with a pillow at their home, number 7 Coronation Street. She escaped and went to Blackpool, but Alan tracked her down and tried to drag her to his car to take her back to Weatherfield. Once Rita was in the car, Alan made his way round to the Driver's side, in which time Rita jumped out and ran across the street. Alan gave chase only to be knocked down by a passing Tram. He was killed instantly.

Relationship with Alec Gilroy

Following her ordeal with evil Alan Bradley, she later she became involved with Alec Gilroy, an old friend who had been her manager in her career as a night club cabaret singer, before her first marriage; They lived in adjoining flats - the 2 above the Kabin. They decided not to move in together, but to have a door built between the two flats. This relationship ended when Alec moved away from Weatherfield. Finally, Rita met Anthony Stephens, a cultured man who wanted to marry her. His grown-up children interfered in the relationship, and Anthony went to live in New Zealand.

Relationship with Ted Sullivan

Rita met her second husband, Ted Sullivan at the Kabin; he was a sales rep for a firm of sweet manufacturers. Shortly before their marriage, Ted confessed that he was dying of a brain tumour. Rita then abandoned plans to retire abroad, and decided to stay in the Street.

Leanne and Sharon

In 1998, Rita took Leanne Battersby under her wing when Leanne got a job at the Kabin. Their relationship fractured when Rita's foster daughter Sharon returned to town. Leanne felt shut out and when she was falsely accused of stealing money, quit her job to work at the Rover's. Rita offered Sharon the Kabin, but the plans fell through.

"Attacking" Chesney Battersby-Brown

Rita once clipped Chesney Brown around the ear for repeatedly stealing from her shop. Chesney's conniving mother Cilla attempted to take Rita to court in an attempt to get 'compensation', despite knowing that no harm had come to her son at Rita's hands. Rita was prosecuted and spent a short time in prison following her conviction. Money-grabbing Cilla was disappointed by the compensation money and tried to further con Rita, but this eventually failed. She continued to hate Cilla, but bore no ill will against Chesney, even taking him in one night when he had nowhere else to go.

Moving in with Emily Bishop

In 2006 Rita faced the trauma of her flat being broken into. Orchid, who was in Coronation Street in 2004 when she conned Fred Elliott by pretending to be a Thai bride when actually she was just someone from Manchester and her real name was Stacey. In 2006 she reappeared on the street. She had conned another man called Stuart, he locked her up in his flat for days on end. One day she escaped and was beaten up by the so-called boyfriend. She moved into the street and started to live with Rita. One day they returned from town to find Rita's flat totally ruined, A couple of days later Rita was petrified when Stuart entered the Kabin demanding to see Stacey, he threatened to beat her up if she did not tell him where she was hiding. Once Stacey had got to the shop along with Fred there was trouble. Nathan who was working in Webster's Garage came over and pinned Stuart down on the floor. The police came and arrested him and Stacey. Rita decided to move into her friends house Emily Bishop and her other friend Norris Cole temporarily moved into Rita's flat.

In October 2006 Rita and Norris went on a holiday they had won to Hungary. Rita broke her toes whilst there and had to stay in hospital, while Norris returned. Ken Barlow helped out in The Kabin for a while whilst they were away, but he quit when Norris's nagging became too much for him. Rita returned in November 2006 to reveal that her foot was broken when Norris tripped her while trying to get to a bread bun first.

Doreen Fenwick

Rita has met up with her old friend Doreen. She had invited her to move into her flat which followed Doreen's eviction, much to the chagrin of disapproving Norris. While she and Doreen initially got on, enjoying reminiscences of the old days, Doreen outstayed her welcome, claiming that the council were delaying completion of works to her flat. Rita, who had come to the end of her tether, 'phoned Weatherfield council pretending to be Doreen, and found out that the works were long since completed. After Rita confronted her, Doreen packed her bags and left Coronation Street, however she soon returned after being persuaded by the most unlikely of people - Norris.

On the 2 September 2007 Norris proposed to Rita, However Rita said no to Norris' proposal, also telling him that she had expected it for some time but had always known what her answer would be - he also went onto propose to Doreen.

elling The Kabin

In May 2008, the Kabin was vandalized by a gang of youths. When Tony Gordon made an offer for the Kabin as well as the flat, Rita agreed, as she realized she was getting on in years. Norris was very cross with her, as she made the decision even though he owned part of the Kabin. When Tony began practicing heavy-handed tactics on other local businesses like Kevin Webster, Rita began to doubt her decision. Tony then reassurred Rita after she had confronted him and Carla in Underworld; Tony then showed Rita an apartment she might be interested in, as Tony was planning to buy her flat as well.

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