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Viewers in tears at Deirdre's TV funeral and Ken's farewell months after her death

By David Young

Published 14/07/2015

Liz McDonald and Ken Barlow carry Deirdre’s coffin down the aisle
Liz McDonald and Ken Barlow carry Deirdre’s coffin down the aisle
Characters prepare for the funeral of Deirdre Barlow
Deirdre Barlow played by Anne Kirkbride

Coronation Street fans were left in tears last night as Ken Barlow delivered a moving funeral farewell to his wife, telling Deirdre: "Goodbye, my love."

Deirdre Barlow, played by the late Anne Kirkbride, was one of the ITV soap opera's best-known performers and was loved for her portrayal of the husky-voiced character, who was famed for her oversized spectacles. The actress, who played Deirdre for 42 years, died in January aged 60.

Her character's TV funeral was the heart-wrenching climax of last night's episode.

Kirkbride had been off our screens for months after taking a break following her cancer diagnosis. The character's absence was explained away by a visit to a friend.

Last week, as her fictional family prepared to welcome Deirdre back with a party to celebrate her 60th birthday, her friend Bev Unwin arrived at their home with bad news - Deirdre's peaceful death that afternoon from a suspected aneurysm.

Many fans tweeted that they were in tears after watching Kirkbride's fellow cast members, including William Roache, who plays Deirdre's husband Ken, and friend Eileen Derbyshire (Emily Bishop) - break down. Ken's eulogy for his wife, which ended with the words "goodbye, my love" and his tearful farewell at her graveside prompted praise from viewers and colleagues. Sally Ann Matthews, who plays Jenny Bradley, tweeted: "Bill Roache is fantastic tonight".

Fan Dab Clifford added: "Can't imagine how hard it must have been for the Corrie cast to film these scenes. RIP Anne Kirkbride."

Cheryl Beza said Cheryl "sobbing my eyes out #Corrie)."

And EastEnders star Gillian Taylforth tweeted: "I'm going to miss Deirdre. Goodnight Chuck."

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