Yorkshire-based entertainer Lynne Perrie (Real name: Jean Barksby [née Dudley] 7th April 1931 - 24th March 2006), was born in Rotherham and worked in a stocking factory until her first cabaret engagement in 1954. The older sister of actor and comedian Duggie Brown. During the 1950s and 1960s, Perrie performed her singing and comedy act all over the country and in France, Germany, South Africa and the United States. She appeared on the same bill as The Rolling Stones and for fifteen concerts The Beatles, who called her “girly”. In 1969 she turned to acting after Ken Loach cast her in a lead role (Billy Casper's neglectful mother) in his film classic Kes.
Throughout the 1970s she played in various television plays including Queenie's Castle, a Yorkshire-based comedy series starring Diana Dors. Perrie played the show's prissy neighbourhood busbody Mrs. Petty. In 1974 she starred as shop steward Mollie in the BBC Play For Today production "Leeds United" working with Elizabeth Dawn, who would later play Vera Duckworth.
Perrie was written out of the Street after over two decades of playing Ivy following clashes with co-stars, a series of collapses on set and having plastic surgery without consulting her bosses. She wrote a best-selling autobiography was months later and it was subtitled "The Book They Could Not Ban" after Granada Television tried to do so.
After leaving the Street Lynne made a return to the stage and became a regular guest on chat-shows before falling into obscurity in the late 1990s. The most notable post-Street appearance was her now notorious guest spot on Channel 4's The Word where she sang "I Will Survive." Her appearance on the adult channel Television X caused further scandal and ridicule. In 1994, Perrie played the role of Poison Ivy in Mike Reid's Pussy In Boots adult pantomime video.
In 1996, she was the subject of a Channel 4 documentary: The Ghost Of Ivy Tilsley. It was part of a series of films exploring the dark side of fame. Reduced to the status of a celebrity bingo caller and after-dinner speaker, Perrie said: "Fame is like a drug. The more you get, the more you want." Shortly after, she was reconciled with her husband Derrick Barksby. Unknown to the public, she and Barksby had lived away from each other after Perrie landed the role of Ivy.
Perrie battled a well publicised drink problem and was once addicted to gambling. She once famously appeared drunk live on the air of the BBC2 celebrity quiz show Shooting Stars.
Lynne died in 2006 at the age of 74, following a stroke and a life long battle with depression, a series of ill-health and the heartache of her son Stephen who suffered from AIDS. She said in a newspaper interview: "Any mother will understand the pain but for me it was much worse. He was my only child and we went through this under the spotlight of publicity." Looking back on Coronation Street, she said: "I've been haunted by Ivy since I left. After she died they brought her back as a ghost. I didn't want to go out because people kept stopping me and talking to me as Ivy. I became a prisoner in my own home. I was going to bed and swallowing sleeping tablets. I was going crazy." Lynne spent more than two years in bed hooked on sleeping pills, and took a cocktail of tablets for heart, liver and kidney problems. She once spent ten weeks in a psychiatric hospital.
Following Lynne’s death, Johnny Briggs, who as factory boss Mike Baldwin clashed with Ivy in Coronation Street on screen, said: "She was my daughter's godmother and one of the most generous people I ever met. She would give a tramp £10 rather than walk past in the street." Elizabeth Dawn who played Vera Duckworth said: "I am terribly saddened to hear the news. She was always full of life and great fun to work with." William Roache who plays Ken Barlow said: "You always knew when Lynne was in the room as the sound of her laughter was never far away."