Entertainment & Arts

British Soap Awards pay tribute to Kirkbride

Anne Kirkbride Image copyright PA
Image caption Anne Kirkbride, who starred in Coronation Street for 42 years, died after a short illness in January.

Soap stars have paid tribute to Coronation Street legend Anne Kirkbride at this year's British Soap Awards.

The actress, who played Deirdre for 42 years - until her death in January aged 60 - was honoured with an award for outstanding achievement.

William Roache, who played on-screen husband Ken Barlow, presented the award to Kirkbride's husband David Beckett.

Rival soap EastEnders dominated the awards ceremony in Manchester, winning eight awards.

Image copyright PA
Image caption EastEnders star Woodyatt was joined at the award by his former on-screen mum, Gillian Taylforth.

The BBC One soap - which marked its 30th anniversary earlier this year with a live episode revealing who murdered Lucy Beale - won the coveted best soap title.

Long-serving cast member Adam Woodyatt, who plays Lucy's father Ian, won the best actor award, while Kellie Bright - Queen Vic landlady Linda Carter - was named best actress.

Bright also scooped the award for best dramatic performance, presented by The Queen Vic's first landlady, Anita Dobson.

Woodyatt and Laurie Brett, who plays Ian Beale's wife Jane, were named best on-screen partnership.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Bright was at the centre of a controversial rape storyline last year

The search for Lucy's killer was named best storyline and the soap's live episode was named best single episode.

EastEnders scriptwriter Rob Gittins also received the outstanding achievement award for off-screen work.

Coronation Street picked up just one other award, with Sally Dynevor winning best comedy performance as Sally Webster.

Paying tribute to his longtime co-star Kirkbride, Roache called her "a wonderful, natural, instinctive actress who devoted her career to Coronation Street".

Roache said "love and warmth shone through" her character, adding that she was "as much a part of the street as the cobbles themselves".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dynevor has played Sally Webster on the ITV soap for nearly 30 years.

"She could make you laugh and make you cry in equal measure, though she preferred to make you laugh."

Receiving the award, Kirkbride's husband made his own tribute: "On behalf of her family, her friends, her co-workers, we were the lucky ones, we knew you. Thanks Annie."

The event also included a tribute to EastEnders star John Bardon, who played Jim Branning, who died last year.

The ceremony will be broadcast on ITV on Thursday 21 May at 20:00 BST.

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