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As Justice For the Weatherfield One sweeps the country we present Deirdre of the Sorrows...

Scene One: The Prison. Miserable music. There is an odd sound, it turns out to be Margi Clarke cracking brazil nuts with her teeth. She spits the shells into the bin and misses. Cut to Anne Kirkbride. She is in tears.

AK: It's not enough that I was once married to Ken Barlow and gave birth to terrible Tracey. Now I have to share a cell with Margi Clarke as well. I should never have turned that scriptwriter down. She weeps softly.

Margi Clarke: Cheer up luv, it could be worse. You could have been on The Good Sex Guide. Although looking at your past men I think that's unlikely. Naaaaaaaahaaaaahaaa.

AK doesn't laugh back.

MC: Mind you, with us two lags shut up here with nuffin to do I wouldn't mind looking at the old stuff again. I'll get on to soft lad at Channel 4 and sort it.

AK: But... (camera follows MC as she bangs on the prison door.) MC: Dontchew worry luv. I'll sort it.

Cut to AK's face frozen in horror. Music surges to crescendo.

Scene Two: The Home Office. A riotous mob is heard chanting "Free The Weatherfield One" over and over. The camera pans in on an excited figure. It is Fraser Kemp, MP for Houghton and Washington East.

FK: I will point out to the Home Secretary that there has been an appalling miscarriage of justice relating to Deirdre Rachid, nee Barlow, of Coronation Street, Weatherfield.

Cries of "Hurrah!" "Good old Frank!" "Is it time for the free Cadbury's yet?"

FK: It is fairly apparent she is innocent and she that she has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for a crime she did not commit. The Home Secretary should intervene and ensure that justice is done and Deirdre is released from prison.

More cheers. Suddenly the door opens. It is Jack Straw. He turns to the policeman outside, puzzled.

PC: Soap opera fans sir. Some of then are still left over from the Jordache campaign.

JS: Ah

FK: Mr Straw! Mr Straw! For God's sake have mercy on Deirdre! Free the Weatherfield One! She hasn't done anything and, after all, your boy got caught redhanded and got let off with a warning...

He is silenced by a falling tin of Campbell's. Jack Straw walks away. The crowd boos.

FK: (staggering up) So you're going to let the Tories come out better than you then?

JS: What?

FK: Well when poor Susan Carter was jailed in the Archers for sheltering her brother the on-the-run armed robber Clive Horrobin in 1993, Mr Michael Howard didn't shirk his responsibility, sir. No, sir he said that he would not have jailed her for harbouring Clive.

JS: (worried) Get me the Prime Minister on the phone.

Scene Three: The prison. Margi and Anne.

MC: ... so there I was with a kiwi fruit a kumquat and a troupe of male strippers and - oh God Deirdre you'll die laughing...

AK: (in anguish, drinking heavily from bottle) I think I'm going to be sick

Scene Four: Number Ten Downing Street. Tony Blair is behind his desk. Jack Straw is pacing the room.

JS: Tony. We have to have a public inquiry. She was the innocent victim of a villainous fraudster. TB: That's what Alan Duncan says about the public and me. It's ridiculous. Peter Mandelson shimmies in

PM: Actually it's not. Our latest figures show a 19m viewing total for Sunday's Coronation Street - a 65 per cent share of viewers. Free Deirdre is what the People want and it could keep them quiet over welfare reform.

TB: OK you get your inquiry. And tell Sally and Kevin to go to Relate at the same time.

Scene Five: The Prison. Three days later

AK: Anyway this woman goes into the bar with a bunch of bananas and the guy says... (She and Margi dissolve into snorts of laughter) Enter guard

Guard: Oi Deirdre. The Home Secretary has held a public inquiry and you're free to go.

AK: (ignoring him) And the guy says "what kind of banana..."

MC: Naaaaaaahaaaaahaaa. Guard: I said you can go. I'm here to take you back to the Street.

AK: When I'm going to present The Good Sex Guide? Not bloody likely.

Quick cut to fade. You can still hear MC whispering "so tell us the banana joke properly". Sniggers. End

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