Susan Frances Harmar Nicholls (born 23 November 1943) is an English actress, best known for her long-running role as Audrey Roberts in British soap opera Coronation Street. After playing Audrey on a recurring basis for six years following the character's debut in 1979, Nicholls joined the cast permanently in 1985 and is still in the role today.

Early life[edit]Edit

Nicholls was born in WalsallStaffordshire. She was educated at the School of St. Mary and St. Anne (now known as Abbots Bromley School for Girls), and is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.


Nicholls first became known as Marilyn Gates in the soap Crossroads, a role she played from 1964 to 1968. A song she first sang on the programme, "Where Will You Be?", charted on 3 July 1968, eventually reaching number 17 in the UK Singles Chart.

Nicholls' second single was less successful and she embarked on a career in a cabaret, performing her solo act all over the country. She returned to the stage in a variety of popular plays and pantomimes. During the 1970s, she had two very different stints abroad. In Vienna she sang between strip acts at a nightclub while in 1976 she toured America and Canada with the Royal Shakespeare Company in London Assurance, finishing with a six-week run on Broadway. 

She played the role of the secretary, Joan Greengross (later Webster and Millbeck) in the sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976-79) and its sequel The Legacy of Reginald Perrin(1996), as well as Nadia Popov in Rentaghost and Mrs Muddle in Pipkins (1973).

However, it is as Audrey in Coronation Street as an occasional visitor since April 1979, and a full-time permanent character since 1985, that has been her most enduring role.

Personal life[edit]Edit

Nicholls' father was Lord Harmar-Nicholls, former Conservative MP for Peterborough (1950–1974) and MEP for Greater Manchester South (1979–1984), and a life peer, and she is thus entitled to be addressed as "The Honourable Susan Nicholls".

She is married to Mark Eden, alongside whom she acted for a time in Coronation Street when he played the role of Alan Bradley. Nicholls is a keen supporter of the British Conservative Party.

Sophia, a relation of Nicholls is currently studying at Birmingham Ormiston Academy.


  • British Soap Awards 2000 (Best Comedy Performance)
  • British Soap Awards 2003 (Best Dramatic Performance)
  • British Soap Awards 2003 (Hero of the Year)
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