Coronation Street favourite Deirdre Barlow has been off screen for some months now since her famous “jelly shouldn’t run it should wobble” line, after actress Anne Kirkbride sadly passed away in January. Now the character made famous by one of soap´s most respected actresses, Deirdre Barlow, is set to leave our screens, closing another chapter of historic Coronation Street.
Husband Ken is planning a surprise 60th birthday party for Deidre to welcome her home. However, Deidre´s friend, Bev Unwin, with whom she´d been staying, arrives back on the street alone.
Brining the most tragic news that anybody could deliver, Ken´s plans for a celebration quickly turn into the opposite, as he finds himself suddenly having to plan his wife´s funeral.
Deidre´s family and friends are left devastated, echoing their true life emotions, when the news hits the street. As the residents pay their respects, Ken´s son Peter returns to the street, as Ken, Peter and Tracey spend an evening reminiscing, and dissecting their family life, speaking lovingly about the legend that was Deirdre Barlow.
William Roache spoke of the shock of losing his long-term screen partner, explaining first how Ken reacts, “When something really big happens, you don´t do anything. You are dumbstruck, literally – bang. If it´s something as awful as that, you don´t scream, you don´t shout, you don´t cry, you are literally struck dumb”.
There are more revelations as it transpires that Deidre stayed away for so long as she was shocked by Tracey´s actions. That naturally makes Ken angry, “When he hears the real reason she stayed away he gets very angry, because he´s been deprived of the last few weeks and months with the person he loves”. Dealing now with double the emotion, it “gives another dimension to the funeral”, he says.
Of course the funeral doesn´t go smoothly at all, there´s a classic “Barlow” scene with everybody arguing, with the double helping of emotion, Peter initially failing to turn up and Ken struggling with the eulogy, it all makes for a classic piece of television.
In the end though, what unites the Barlow’s is the same thing that has united the cast through these most difficult months, dealing with the grief and the loss of a person they held do close to their hearts, and as the curtains finally close on another street icon, it promises to evoke similar emption in the viewer, as we all bid a fond” ta rah” to Deidre Barlow.