Childhood & Early Life
Anne was born on May 28, 1935, in Newcastle upon Tyne. She is the youngest child and the only daughter of Colin Norman Reid and Annie Eliza Reid (nee Weetman).
Living with her parents and growing up along with her three older brothers in Redcar, North Yorkshire, England, Anne went to the ‘John Emmerson Batty Primary School’ and ‘White House School.’
At the age of 11, when her father got transferred for a long-term foreign assignment, she attended the boarding school ‘Penrhos College’ in Colwyn Bay, North Wales.
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After graduating from the ‘Royal Academy of Drama and Arts,’ Anne debuted on TV with ‘The Benny Hill Show’ in 1957 and then appeared in ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ the same year. The following year, she made it to the British TV series ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ in a minor role.
Signing up for the part of ‘Valerie Barlow’ in the record-breaking series ‘Coronation Street’ made Anne a household name. She joined the cast initially for 2 months in August 1961, to play ‘Valerie Tatlock.’ She returned to the show on August 1, 1962, to marry the lead character, ‘Ken Barlow.’ She portrayed the role until the beginning of the next decade.
After a career break of close to one-and-a-half decade, she returned to the screen in 1985, with series such as ‘Bleak House’ (an adaptation of Charles Dickens’s novel of the same name) and ‘Victoria Wood as Seen on TV’ (a British comedy sketch series). Between 1986 and 1990, she was cast in series such as ‘Boon’ and ‘Doctor Who – The Curse of Fenric.’
The last decade of the 20th century witnessed the resurgence of her acting career, especially in the late 1990s. In the early part of the decade, she was seen in a number of projects such as ‘Rich Tea and Sympathy,’ ‘Very Big Very Soon,’ ‘Casualty,’ ‘Pat and Margaret,’ ‘Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave’ (voice role), ‘Love and Death on Long Islan,’ ‘Hetty Wainthropp Investigates,’ and ‘Peak Practice’. She played the role of ‘Jean’ in the sitcom ‘Dinnerladies,’ aired between 1998 and 2000.
With the turn of the millennium, between 2001 and 2010, she had a hectic schedule that included series, films, and theater. One of her best performances, as ‘May’ in the movie ‘The Mother,’ opposite Daniel Craig, came in the year 2003. This performance also fetched her the ‘London Film Critics Circle Award’ for the ‘British Actress of the Year.’ The same role helped her get nominations for multiple awards, including the ‘BAFTA Award’ for the ‘Best Actress in a Leading Role.’
In 2002, Reid was seen in the premiere of ‘The York Realist’ at the ‘Royal Court Theatre.’ She has also appeared in a number of major plays, such as ‘Happy Now?,’ ‘Hedda Gabler,’ and ‘A Woman of No Importance.’
From 2009 to 2010, she was seen as ‘Vera’ in an ‘ITV3’ adaptation of the ‘BBC Radio 4’ series ‘Ladies of Letters.’
The current decade has also seen some compelling performances by her. She starred alongside Sir Derek Jacobi, as ‘Celia,’ in the comedy series ‘Last Tango in Halifax,’ which earned her a ‘BAFTA TV Award’ nomination for the ‘Best Actress,’ in 2014. Her latest role was in the 2019 TV series ‘Years and Years.’
In June 2010, she was appointed as a ‘Member of the Order of the British Empire’ for her services in the field of drama.
She received an ‘Honorary Doctorate of Arts’ from the ‘University of Sunderland’ in July 2015.
Family & Personal Life
Anne’s father, Colin Reid, worked as a journalist with ‘The Daily Telegraph.’ After his father was posted abroad, Anne met her parents during summer holidays in various countries such as India, Iran, and Lebanon.
While on a career break that lasted for more than a decade, she took charge of the upbringing of her son.
Anne’s great-great-grandfather was a convict exiled to Tasmania, as revealed on the ‘BBC’ genealogy show ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’
Anne’s scenes from the 2003 movie ‘Love Actually,’ with an ensemble cast including Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, and Colin Firth, were deleted but were later featured in the DVD extras.
Anne learned from a former ‘MI6’ member that her father was a spy in the Second World War and ran a spy ring in Greece, on the ‘BBC’ genealogy program ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’
All of Anne’s elder brothers followed in their father’s footsteps and became journalists.
Anne has revealed in a recent interview that she wishes to re-enact some of the bold scenes from the movie ‘The Mother.’