Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Obituary: Anne Kirkbride

I was horrified watching Sky News last night as the news came through about the death of Anne Kirkbride, famous for her iconic role as Deirdre Barlow on Coronation Street. As a child I watched Corrie in the 80's with my mum and my first big TV memory of it was the wedding of Ken and Deirdre in 1981 followed by the gripping episodes where Deirdre is about to leave Ken for Mike Baldwin. She was my favourite character and that never changed as I followed her ups and downs in the soap. Divorcing Ken after his affair with Wendy, making excuses for her hellspawn daughter Tracy, the tragic death of husband Samir, putting up with her acid tongued mother Blanche, her false imprisonment, her fling with Dev, being seduced by Lewis and remarrying Ken. There were so many wonderful dramatic performances over the years.

But what I loved even more were the funny moments. The embarrassing antics of her mother bringing shame to her was a highlight. One of the funniest ever episodes was when the Barlow family went to support Peter at his Alchoholic Anon meeting. That was pure comedy gold. Every time Deirdre got drunk, you knew it was going to be funny. There was the funny storyline where Wendy reappeared in Ken's life and Deirdre was insulting her in front of Ken, Brian and Julie. They were discussing what cakes they liked and Deirdre just looked coldly at Wendy and said 'Manchester Tart'. I loved it! Recently her acidic barbs reminded me so much of Blanche and I was excited by the thought of her morphing into her mother! Sadly it was not to be.

Offscreen Anne had her battle with cancer in the 1990's and a nation was praying for her to come through it safely. A documentary filmed later showed Anne to be a funny, kind and warm human being who touched everyone in her life. She must have been an amazing lady to know from the lovely things that people have said about her. My heart goes out to her family and all her Corrie friends who must be in a state of shock. The Street will never be the same again and I will always be listening out for that throaty laugh which will never sound again.

Rest in Peace Annie.

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