Belfast Telegraph

Anne Kirkbride: A tearful tribute to Corrie great at National TV awards

By Anthony Barnes

TV presenter Dermot O'Leary acknowledged the death of Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride when he noted the attendance of many of her colleagues - including William Roache and Barbara Knox - at the National Television Awards.

Kirkbride, who died from cancer on Monday, had played Deirdre in the ITV soap for more than 40 years. O'Leary said: "We know you're going through a very difficult time.

On behalf of everyone here, we're glad you've come. Thank you very much, guys."

Roache - who played Kirkbride's screen husband Ken Barlow - had many of the audience in tears as he gave an emotional tribute to his late co-star.

He told guests: "I feel so blessed, honoured and privileged to have had those years working with Anne.

"What we'll remember the most is the vibrant, warm-hearted, loving person who came to work each day, gave us all a hug and brightened up our lives.

"Together with Anne's brother John and his family, David, and her Coronation Street family, and especially Beverley Callard - who was very close to Anne in her last days - we've been deeply touched by the outpouring of love for Anne since she passed away on Monday evening."

His voice trembling with emotion, he said: "We share your grief and sadness at losing such a beautiful person who'll be so greatly missed by us all."

He added: "I love you, Anne. Thank you."

Sheridan Smith landed the prize for top drama performance for her portrayal of Cilla Black in ITV series Cilla, beating figures such as Dame Maggie Smith, Sarah Lancashire and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Other winners included This Morning, I'm a Celebrity and Mrs Brown's Boys, and Ant & Dec.

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