Susan Frances Harmar Nicholls (born 23 November 1943) is an English actress, best known for her long-running role as Audrey Roberts in the British soap opera Coronation Street.
Notable roles for Nicholls prior to Coronation Street include, Crossroads from 1964-1968 and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin from 1976-1979. She also appeared on Broadway in 1974, in the comedy London Assurance.
Having played Audrey on a recurring basis for six years from the characters’s debut in 1979, she joined the cast permanently in 1985. She won the 2000 British Soap Award for Best Comedy Performance and the 2003 British Soap Award for Best Dramatic Performance.
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.
Her 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 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.