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Farewell Deirdre Barlow on Coronation Street's saddest day

Last night's tears on Coronation Street were real, and a fitting tribute, writes John Laverty

Published 09/07/2015

The late Anne Kirkbride
The late Anne Kirkbride
Corrie characters are told about Deirdre Barlow’s death

It had everything but the taxi. Corrie fans will know what I'm talking about.

If you're a true legend of The Street, you get to leave in a Weatherfield cab. It's the ultimate send-off. For obvious reasons, though, Deirdre Barlow had to bow out a different way.

But the late, much lamented Anne Kirkbride, who played the gravelly-voiced, often bubble-permed, bespectacled, perennial loser in love, would surely have been proud of how her death was treated in last night's show.

Indeed, it would be difficult to recall a more emotional episode of the long-running soap. The grief, the agony displayed by the Corrie stars was unmistakably genuine - and thus, for the viewer, even more painful.

That's understandable; after all, for the cast, the production crew, and the millions of fans, Deirdre Hunt/Langton/Rachid/Barlow and the irreplaceable actress who played her for over four decades were one and the same. Where did Anne end and Deirdre begin?

Thing is, the vast majority of Corrie fans can't remember a time when Deirdre wasn't part of the furniture in t'street.

In last night's raw, tear-stained episode, it was left to the returning Bev Unwin to deliver the sad news to Deirdre's loved ones.

Husband Ken remained characteristically stoic most of the time, even when he received his late wife's glasses. Well done him; the rest of us were in bits by that stage, but old Ken ultimately succumbed too, near the end.

Meanwhile Kate Ford, as Deirdre's daughter Tracey, was so good you even felt sorry for the worthless character she plays.

Yet it wasn't half-an-hour of unrelenting morbidity; with Corrie there will always be moments of levity. That's what makes it such an enduring show... and what made Deirdre such an lovable character.

She was last seen, a few months ago, hurling a trifle at the wall of No.1, shouting "jelly shouldn't run, it should wobble".

It was us who turned into wobbling jellies last night. Ta-ra, love.

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