Entertainment & Arts

Coronation Street star Anne Kirkbride to be celebrated

Anne Kirkbride Image copyright PA
Image caption Anne Kirkbride's Coronation Street career spanned more than 40 years

A memorial service for Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride will take place on Saturday 30 May at Manchester Cathedral.

Kirkbride played husky-voiced Deirdre Barlow in the ITV soap for 42 years.

The actress died in January, aged 60, after a short illness.

Cast members William Roache (Ken Barlow) and Beverley Callard (Liz McDonald) will be amongst the actors attending the service which will take place from 11.30am.

"Cast and crew will celebrate Anne's life alongside her family and members of the public who would like to pay their respects to the actress who brought so much joy into everyone's lives as Deirdre Barlow," said her family and the show's producers in a statement on Friday.

Kirkbride started in Coronation Street in 1972 as Deirdre Hunt. In the 1980s, one of the soap's most famous storylines hinged on whether she would stay with Ken Barlow. She was married four times in the programme, twice to Ken.

Image copyright PA
Image caption She played the wife of Ken Barlow, actor William Roache, for many years

The popularity of her character was demonstrated when a real-life campaign was launched to "free Deirdre" when a storyline saw the character jailed in 1998.

The campaign - the result of her character being duped into a mortgage fraud by fiance Jon Lindsay - was even backed by Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Deirdre Barlow had been off screen for some months prior to Kirkbride's death, while the actress was given a break by the show's producers.

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