Moving update on Coronation Street legend Julie Goodyear’s dementia battle

Bet Lynch outside of the Rovers Return in Coronation Street
Julie still loves wearing leopard print (Picture: ITV/Shutterstock)

The late Roy Barraclough, the iconic Coronation Street star’s spouse, has spoken out about his close friend Julie Goodyear’s dementia.

The neurological illness that Julie, better known to millions as the feisty, leopard-print-clad landlady Bet Lynch on the ITV soap opera, was diagnosed with, was made public in July.

Bet made her Rovers Return debut as a guest in 1966. Four years later, she became a more regular member of the cast, joining Annie Walker (Doris Speed) and Betty Turpin (Betty Driver).

She would grow to be one of the most beloved characters on the programme over the next 25 years, making two well-publicized guest appearances between 2002 and 2003.

She married former competitor Alec Gilroy (Barraclough) in 1987, and the two of them stayed together for the five years that he lived in Southampton.

Julie’s family opened up about her dementia journey last year (Picture: Scott Brand)
Julie’s health has been discussed by Roy’s partner Mark in his most recent book (Image: TV Times/Getty Images).

After their exits from Corrie, their relationship was solidified off-screen at Oldham Repertory Theatre and lasted until Roy’s death in 2017.

At this moment, Julie and Roy’s over 25-year companion, Mark Llewellin, bonded over their shared sadness. Mark’s recent book, With Friends Like These, details this story.

In an interview to promote his books, Mark discussed Julie’s health and stated she is “living a good life” with the Conversation Street Podcast.

“To say that Julie is suffering from dementia is inaccurate; rather, she is living with dementia.” It alters both your behaviour and appearance over time. Mark got started.

In 1970, Bet became a member of the Rovers squad (Image: TV Times/Getty Images).

Julie has shown incredible bravery and strength in doing so, and her husband Scott [Brand] has seen a transformation in his life. However, Scott deserves special recognition since he is really amazing.

He went on: ‘They always wanted to be clean about [her] dementia, believing that it would encourage others going through a similar experience and put Julie in their shoes. It received hundreds of letters from individuals.

Although there is a crossover between Julie and Bet, most people would agree that Bet was sometimes powerful, blustery, and a little intimidating. Underneath there was a really delicate heart and a fragile person. In some ways, I believe Julie to be extremely similar. It’s been lovely to hear her discuss life without that armour.

Mark described Julie as ‘the best friend you could ever have’ (Picture: Andrew Stenning/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Julie, according to Mark, is “living a good life.” (Image: Getty Images/TV Times))

She is a sweetheart, and I believe that the media has portrayed her negatively over the years. The finest buddy you could ever have is [her].

Mark called her “a rock,” adding that the legend “still loves leopard print” and going into depth about how her current daily existence appears to podcast presenter Michael Dodson.

He said, “I spend a few hours with her and have afternoon tea at her house, which I call leopard print boulevard,” at least once or occasionally twice a week.

“On Sundays, I bring her chocolate cake, and we dig in. Though, to be honest, she won’t let me have any.”

Julie has real star power, pictured here at the Granada Studios Tour in 1993 (Picture: Holborn/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
She was a cast member of Celebrity Big Brother in 2012. (Image courtesy of Simon Burchell/Getty Images))

He continued by saying that she is “quite happy” and that she loves taking frequent walks outside the home. In a brand-new photo that Scott sent us, she can be seen doing exactly that!

Julie and Scott collaborated with The Alzheimer’s Society earlier this year to promote their newest initiative, The Long Goodbye.

Scott said at the time, “All these losses for me symbolise The Long Goodbye.” He added, “Not being able to spontaneously go out as husband and wife, holding hands as we stroll along, going for meals together and going shopping.”

“I miss Julie, the fun-loving wife she was always; I miss her exuberant personality that made everything around her better and her smile that made every space seem brighter.”

Last year, Julie participated in an Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk (Picture: Alzheimer’s Society)

Now that everything is gradually disappearing, I’m having a really difficult time seeing this decline. Now that she is having trouble identifying individuals, Julie calls everyone she encounters “Scott.”

At a Memory Walk in Manchester’s Heaton Park in October, Julie made her last public appearance in front of thousands of supporters of the charity, family, and close friends. Scott noted at the time that Julie was “now living with Alzheimer’s, not suffering with it—and that’s a big difference.”

It seems most fitting to refer to our walks as “memory walks” because, while memory loss is undoubtedly one of the most devastating effects of this terrible illness, Julie and I are also working to create new memories together.

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