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Rita Tanner (née Littlewood, previously Fairclough and Sullivan) is a long-standing Coronation Street resident and the former owner/co-owner of newsagents The Kabin. Rita Littlewood was first seen in 1964 when she was working as a nightclub singer.She entered the Rovers Return where she and Dennis, who had also been working the clubs, recognised each other.
Rita returned in 1972, now the common-law wife of Harry Bates but left him that year and started an on-off relationship with builder Len Fairclough.
In 2012, she married for the third time to Dennis Tanner on 4th June.
She had known Dennis on and off throughout her life. From 1973 to 2009, Rita ran the newsagents, working first with Mavis Riley as assistant, establishing a years-long friendship, and later Norris Cole, who bought half of the shop from Rita in 2006 and the rest in 2009, when Rita sold her remaining share after deciding to retire.
Rita has since returned to work at The Kabin as a favour to Norris.
Len's reluctance to commit to Rita was an obstacle in their relationship but after a broken engagement they married in 1977, living together at 9 Coronation Street.
Although their marriage had many ups and downs, Rita loved Len and was devastated when he died in a motorway accident in 1983, with Rita learning after his death that he had been cheating on her.
In the 1980s Rita and Len became foster parents; Rita continued to foster children after Len's death.
When she was asked to look after Jenny Bradley in 1986, Rita met Jenny's dad Alan and began a relationship with him that nearly cost Rita her life.
In 1989 thuggish Alan secretly remortgaged Rita's house to raise money for a business and assaulted Rita when she found out and confronted him.
Alan met his end in Blackpool when he was hit by a tram while chasing Rita.
Rita married for a second time in 1992 to Ted Sullivan, although he died from a brain tumour only three months after they were married.
Rita has been engaged twice without becoming married: firstly to former manager Alec Gilroy and secondly to Colin Grimshaw.