A brief salute to Anne Kirkbride.

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Bennett Morgan reports.

If it was appropriate for kaumatua to wail “the might totara” of New Zealand politics had fallen at the state funeral of Norman Kirk in 1974, then it is appropriate we say a mighty totara of British television drama has fallen this week.

At 7pm, British time, the so-called ‘mother’ of ITV’s iconic British TV soap Coronation Street, Anne Kirkbride, known to many as Deidre Barlow, passed away.

Kikrbride had been battling cancer for years, but until now her latest illness had remained secret.

Numerous media outlets, including The Sun newspaper were aware of the illness but chose not to report on the story out of respect for Mrs. Kirkbride and her family. Kirkbride didn’t live an easy private life, not only had she suffered from cancer, but she’d also been diagnosed with depression in 1993.

Kirkbride was a loved star, spending 42 of the 60 years of her life on ‘the street’. Initially just a reoccurring character, showing up in the odd scene every now and then, popular demand soon instructed that Deidre become a regular. Most loved were her iconic, large circular glasses.

The character of Deidre, developed largely by Kirkbride was a masterpiece. A unique yet believable blend of characteristics which audiences fell in love with.

Coronation Street. which recently aired its 8,534th episode itself finds a unique position in British, more notably working class culture. Before the creation of this ground-breaking production,the relatable and unique stories of working class stories were hardly told. In British television drama the familiar voices were that of the aristocratic upper class.

This is what makes Coronation Street different. Real looking, real sounding working people. Working ordinary jobs, living in ordinary homes with ordinary families spending the end of the day at an ordinary British pub.

Thank you, Anne Kirkbride, for being part of this. We love you!

Latest Tributes:

“Heartbroken at the loss of my friend and beautiful on screen mummy.” – Kate Ford (Tracy).
“Coronation Street has lost one of its iconic characters and Anne will be greatly missed” – William Roache (Ken).

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