Deirdre Barlow 'killed off' in Coronation Street: Anne Kirkbride's character is written out of soap

No Rovers Return for best-loved soap actress who died in January

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The Independent Culture

Coronation Street will tonight feature the onscreen death of one of the ITV soap’s best-loved characters, the husky-voiced, stuffed marrow connoisseur Deirdre Barlow.

News of the character’s death will be revealed this evening more than six months on from the death of actress Anne Kirkbride.

Regularly given some of the best lines by writers, and with a number of colourful storylines to her name, including her on-again, off-again relationship with Ken Barlow, Deirdre and her famous spectacles graced the soap for 42 years.

Kirkbride died of cancer in January aged 60. At the time of her death she had been away from the soap for four months following her diagnosis.

Deirdre has remained out of sight but still a part of the Weatherfield drama since news of Kirkbride’s death left her colleagues and friends devastated.

During Monday’s episode her onscreen husband Ken (William Roache) was seen preparing for Deirdre’s return to Number 1 Coronation Street, signing a card, buying her a new oven and organising a cake to mark her 60 birthday.

But instead of welcoming Deirdre home, Ken, her screen daughter Tracy (Kate Ford) and neighbour Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) will be told the devastating news of her death.

The rest of the Street’s residents will find out at a party planned for Deirdre’s homecoming at the Rovers Return.

A funeral service for Deirdre will be shown next week on Monday.

Kirkbride was one of the soap's best-know performers and grabbed particular attention when her character was jailed after being duped into a mortgage fraud by fiancé Jon Lindsay.

Anne Kirkbride who played Deirdre Barlow in Coronation Street for 42 years

The storyline even led then-prime minister Tony Blair to give his support to the Free The Weatherfield One movement to get her released.

Kirkbride previously took a break from the soap after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1993.

Coronation Street will be screened on ITV1 tonight at 7.30pm.