Margaret “Meg” Johnson (30 September 1936 – 1 July 2023) was an English actress. Throughout a career spanning almost six decades, she became known for her roles on British television soap operas, including Eunice Gee in Coronation Street, Brigid McKenna in Brookside and Pearl Ladderbanks in Emmerdale. Alongside her television roles, Johnson also appeared in musical theatre productions, including Chicago and Follies.
Johnson’s first professional acting role occurred in 1961 in a television series titled Family Solicitor. Subsequent roles included The Referees (1961) and Here’s Harry (1961–1964). Johnson first appeared in a few guest episodes of the ITV television soap opera Coronation Street in 1976 as Brenda Holden, before being cast as Eunice Gee in 1981, a role she would play with recurring appearances until 1999.
In the 1980s, Johnson worked with Victoria Wood, appearing in several episodes of her shows Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV, as well as Victoria Wood Presents. In 1997, Johnson appeared in the West End theatre revival of Chicago as Mama Morton. She also appeared in theatre productions of Follies and Gypsy.
From 2000 to 2003, Johnson appeared in the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside as Brigid McKenna. Later in 2003, Johnson was cast as Pearl Ladderbanks in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale, a role she portrayed until March 2020.
Johnson died on 1 July 2023, at the age of 86. In a statement Johnson’s family said she “had dementia for the last few years, but battled on personally and professionally regardless”. Emmerdale paid tribute to her on their social media accounts, describing Johnson as “a kind and wonderful lady, full of warmth and always with a twinkle in her eye” adding that she would be “greatly missed by everyone who knew her.”
|1961||The Referees||Waitress||Television film|
|1961||Family Solicitor||Mary Carslake||3 episodes|
|1961–1964||Here’s Harry||Unknown||5 episodes|
|1964||Comedy Playhouse||Office girl||Episode: “The Mascot”|
|1972||Country Matters||Barmaid||Episode: “Crippled Bloom”|
|1972||Coronation Street||Tipsy woman||2 episodes|
|1973||Nearest and Dearest||Miss Pringle||Episode: “Get Out of That”|
|1974||How’s Your Father?||Alice Henthorn||Episode: “Who Was That Lady?”|
|1975||The Life of Riley||Betty Butcher||Episode: “Uneasy Riders”|
|1975||Play for Today||Vera||Episode: “Wednesday Love”|
|1976||Crown Court||Tricia Dibden||2 episodes|
|1976||Coronation Street||Brenda Holden||4 episodes|
|1976–1977||Yanks Go Home||Phoebe Sankey||Lead role|
|1979||Two Up, Two Down||Woman in precinct||Episode: “What’s Yours Is Mine”|
|1979||Mother Nature’s Bloomers||Various||6 episodes|
|1978–1979||Empire Road||Mrs. Ridley||4 episodes|
|1978||Strangers||Barmaid||Episode: “Paying Guests”|
|1980||Watch All Night||Dianne Eveling||Episode: “Night People”|
|1980||Strangers||Woman in suburbs||Episode: “Armed and Dangerous”|
|1980–1981||The Good Companions||Effie||2 episodes|
|1981||The Olympian Way||Violet||2 episodes|
|1981–1982, 1999||Coronation Street||Eunice Gee||Series regular|
|1985–1987||Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV||Various||4 episodes|
|1986||The Practice||Mary O’Dowd||2 episodes|
|1989||Split Ends||Mrs. Emery||Episode: “Tangles”|
|1989||Victoria Wood||Saundra/Connie||2 episodes|
|1993||Taggart||Mrs. Jeffrey||Episode: “Fatal Inheritance”|
|1993||Lovejoy||Maureen||Episode: “Ducking and Diving”|
|1993||Chris Cross||Nurse Garbo||Episode: “It’s a Jungle in There”|
|1998–1999||The Wild House||Aunt Yvette||Series regular|
|1999||Rab C. Nesbitt||Speaker of the House||Episode: “Commons”|
|2000||Peak Practice||Freda Norton||Episode: “Turning Tides”|
|2000||The Thing About Vince…||Sylvia||1 episode|
|2000–2003||Brookside||Brigid McKenna||Series regular|
|2003–2020||Emmerdale||Pearl Ladderbanks||Series regular|
|2011||Emmerdale: Paddy and Marlon’s Big Night In||Pearl Ladderbanks||Spin-off|
- “Five Fast Facts About British Soap Star Meg Johnson”. SoapHub. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
- “Meg Johnson at British Comedy Guide”. British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
- “Meg Johnson”.
- “Emmerdale star dies following private dementia battle | Halifax Courier”.
- “Meg Johnson”. British Film Institute. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
- McLoughlin, Bill (2 July 2023). “Meg Johnson dead: Emmerdale star dies aged 86 following dementia battle”. Evening Standard.
- Fear, Helen (15 January 2020). “Emmerdale fans delighted to see village regular return after months missing on screen”. Entertainment Daily. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
- Kathryn Ingate (27 February 2023). “Charles Foster dies as tributes pour in for Corrie and Emmerdale star-turned-ITV announcer”. Express.
- “Tributes paid following the death of ITV Granada continuity announcer Charles Foster”. ITV. 25 February 2023. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
- “Emmerdale and Coronation Street actress Meg Johnson dies”. BBC News. 2 July 2023. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
- “Emmerdale and Coronation Street star Meg Johnson dies aged 86 ‘surrounded by her family'”. Metro. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
- “Meg Johnson: ‘Kind and wonderful’ Emmerdale actress dies”. Sky News. 2 July 2023. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
- “Soap opera stalwart Meg Johnson dies aged 86”. The Independent. 2 July 2023.
- “Emmerdale pays tribute to Meg Johnson after death”. Digital Spy. 2 July 2023. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
- “Meg Johnson filmography”. TV Guide. Retrieved 2 July 2023.