Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Anne Kirkbride

Anne Kirkbride as Deirdre and William Roache as Ken - a 1988 photograph used for the 1989 Coronation Street calendar.

We're not feeling too well at Back On The Street, but were startled by some news last night, e-mailed to us from a friend of this blog. Anne Kirkbride - Deirdre Hunt/Langton/Barlow - a regular in the Street for many years has died at the young age of sixty.

We're so sorry to hear this. Deirdre had her ups and downs in The Street, but the character is greatly loved, and Miss Kirkbride invested her with a lovely, down-to-earth warmth and "every dayness" that turned her into a Corrie great.

We loved her fiery engagement to Billy Walker and equally fiery marriage to Ray Langton. We thought her pairing with Ken Barlow was a little out of character and a bit of a desperate attempt by the production team to create interest in two regulars without bringing in new characters for them to romance. But there's no doubt that the Dierdre/Ken union yielded pure gold in 1983 when Mike Baldwin tried to entice Deirdre away from her "boring" (or so some of the Press said) hubby.

And then there was Deirdre's turn as a Weatherfield borough councillor in the late 1980s, the "mole" at the town hall, who turned out to be Wendy Crozier, and her spiky relationship with her "mummy dearest", Blanche, in later years.

As well as the high dramas, we remember Deirdre fondly for just being around and for being warm and likeable. Her tenure as assistant at Alf Roberts's Corner Shop from 1980 to 1987, chatting with the customers, getting involved in local intrigues, dealing with change and the bacon slicer, is an outstanding time for the character in our memories.

Her trademark was her big glasses - which lost some of their roundness in the 1980s and became even bigger and rather squarer in shape. They were like mini-tv screens! As with Ena and her hairnet and Albert and his flat cap, Deirdre was difficult to imagine without her trademark apparel.

But, beyond our fondness for the character, there is, of course, something much sadder here. Anne Kirkbride was a real, live human being, not soap opera fiction. Thanks to her for all the viewing pleasure she has brought us over the last four decades, and our heartfelt sympathy to her husband, family and friends.

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