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Freda Barry

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Freda Barry
Occupation Pub landlady
First appearance 22nd July 1974
Last appearance 24th July 1974
Number of appearances 2
Played by Joy Stewart

Freda Barry was a pub landlady who took over The Flying Horse in July 1974, coming down from Dunfermline to take up the position. She rang Annie Walker and suggested that they get together and was invited for tea. Annie suspected that Freda wanted help getting on to the committee of the Licenced Victuallers but was determined to make a good impression and bought in a cream gateau and put fresh flowers on the bar of the Rovers. She was taken aback though when Freda burst into the pub and in her loud Scottish brogue told all concerned that the taxi driver who had brought her to the pub offered to take her somewhere "a bit posher" than her requested destination. She had refused him, giving Annie an extremely back-handed compliment that while the Rovers might be a little old-fashioned pub in a "scruffy back street" it would have a bit more going for it with her in charge. Annie defended the Rovers as part of the historic tradition of Weatherfield and led her into the back, while her staff looked on agog, Betty Turpin commenting that Freda had flown in by broomstick.

Freda apologised in advance to Annie for poaching half of her customers, who she boasted would flock to the "Horse" because of her friendly nature and her singing. She boasted that she was known as the "Tartan Sophie Tucker" and had always been advised by her mother to flaunt her natural talent. She took a shine to Billy Walker and jokingly offered him a position at her pub, saying the two of them would go down a storm singing, demonstrating with a few lines of I Love a Lassie and My Old Man in her best cockney accent while Annie sat by, purse-lipped. Annie let slip that Gertie Robson had just asked to be her house-keeper and she took her on, replacing Hilda Ogden with her, all in front of Freda. As the lady left the pub, she bumped into Gertie and started to try and poach her off Annie as her own live-in housekeeper. She succeeded, mainly because she could offer Gertie a permanent room at the Horse, whereas Annie wanted to keep the spare room free in case Lucille Hewitt returned from Ireland. Freda visited Annie and broke the news to her, displaying a false attack on conscience and using Annie's own words against her as she had boasted that she could attract good staff any time she tried. Annie subtly made a comment about support (or lack of) for the LV's but Freda countered by saying that she had phoned round and got enough support already. Annie told her that her actions strongly reminded her of her "good friend" Nellie Harvey...

Freda Barry is notable for being the last of several roles played in the programme by Joy Stewart who was one of the stars of the 1965-1966 spin-off "Pardon the Expression".

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