Anna Cropper
Born13 May 1938 (1938-05-13)
Died22 January 2007 (2007-01-23) (aged 68)
Other namesAnna Roache
Years active1960–1999
(m. 1961; div. 1974)

Anna Cropper (also Roache; 13 May 1938 – 22 January 2007) was an English stage and television actress.

Early years

Cropper was born in Brierfield, Lancashire, the daughter of Margaret, a stage actress and director, and Jack Cropper, a dentist.[1] The family lived on Todmorden Road in Burnley during her early life.[2]


Cropper studied acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She made her television debut as Chrysalis in The Insect Play (1960), based on the 1921 play by Czech brothers Josef and Karel Čapek. She appeared in Emergency Ward 10 three times and on Coronation Street three times in 1962.[3]

She came to prominence playing a young schizophrenic in the television play In Two Minds (The Wednesday Play, BBC, 1967) by David Mercer.[4] which won the Writers' Guild Award for the Best Television Play of 1967.[1]

Her film roles included appearances in All Neat in Black Stockings (1968), Cromwell (1970) and Nanou (1986). In 1972 she starred in the television production of The Exorcism and in 1975 took over the lead role in the West End stage version when actress Mary Ure died of an overdose following the play's opening night.[5]

She played Mary Hodgson, the nurse of the boys who inspired the creation of Peter Pan in the BBC docudrama The Lost Boys (1978). Other television roles included two episodes of the BBC's Play for Today, as Norah Palmer in the James MacTaggart-directed Robin Redbreast (1970), a Christmas supernatural thriller by John Bowen[6] and Dennis Potter's play Schmoedipus (1974).[7]

She appeared in The Jewel in the Crown (1984) and featured in Anna of the Five Towns (1985) a 4-part BBC period drama. Her last television credit is for an episode of Midsomer Murders entitled Death's Shadow (1999).[1]


She was married to the Coronation Street actor William Roache in 1961. The marriage ended in divorce in 1974. They had two children, son Linus Roache and daughter Vanya.[8]


Cropper died suddenly of a heart attack in January 2007, aged 68, at her home in Tangmere, West Sussex.[9] Her daughter, Vanya, died on 2 March 2018 aged 50.[10]

Selected television

Year Title Role Writer
1960 The Insect Play Chrysalis
1967 Angel Pavement Miss Cadham
1967 In Two Minds Kate Winter David Mercer
1970 Robin Redbreast Norah Palmer John Bowen
1972 The Exorcism John Bowen
1972 The Moonstone Rosanna Spearman
1975 Schmoedipus Dennis Potter
1978 The Lost Boys Mary Hodgson
1984 The Jewel in the Crown
1985 Anna of the Five Towns
1986 Nemesis (Miss Marple) Anthea Bradbury-Scott

The L


Year Title Role Notes
1968 All Neat in Black Stockings Sis
1970 Cromwell Ruth Carter
1986 Nanou Nanou's mother
1994 Don't Get Me Started Mother Voice, Uncredited


  1. ^ a b c Hayward, Anthony (2 February 2007). "Anna Cropper Cutting-edge television actress". The Independent. London. Retrieved 28 March 2008.
  2. ^ Hewitt, Andrew (5 February 2007). "Tributes to screen star Anna Cropper". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  3. ^ Obituary, The Burnley Citizen; accessed 12 June 2018.
  4. ^ Philip Purser. "Anna Cropper Insightful actor at her best in haunted roles". London, UK: The Guardian. Retrieved 28 March 2008.
  5. ^ "'Exorcism' successor", The Times page 4, 8 April 1975
  6. ^ BBC Genome - Radio Times listing for 10 December 1970
  7. ^ BBC Genome - Radio Times listing for 20 June 1974
  8. ^ "Anna Cropper". London, UK: Retrieved 12 June 2018.[dead link]
  9. ^ Hewitt, Andrew (5 February 2007). "Tributes to screen star Anna". Burnley Citizen. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  10. ^ Kindon, Frances; Swettenham, Lee (7 March 2018). "Daughter of Coronation Street star Bill Roache, Vanya, dies aged 50". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 29 January 2021.