Coronation Street stalwart William Roache has spoken of the heartache he feels at having to film the funeral of Deirdre Barlow, the character played by his late friend and colleague Anne Kirkbride.
“I had a scene as Ken where I’m given Deirdre’s glasses, but of course Annie wore them for 30 years so you certainly don’t need any motivation for the acting. We’re always on the verge [of tears]” he said.
Talking to Good Morning Britain about how the cast of Coronation Street is coping with the filming of the key scenes, he added: “It is a family and doing the funeral of Deirdre next week, Annie will be there, we’re just feeling her there the whole time.
“I know I have never heard a single bad word or criticism about Annie. You couldn’t. I used to call her a love bomb because she exploded with love. She liked that.”
Roache – who plays Ken Barlow on the ITV soap – was speaking ahead of a public memorial at Manchester Cathedral this Saturday for Kirkbride, who died back in January. Discussing the last time he spent time with her, Roache said movingly:
“I saw her the day she died. She died in the evening on the Monday and I went that afternoon and I was warned she’d lost a lot of weight…When I saw her, she’d lost some weight, but it had all gone back onto her beautiful bone structure and she looked beautiful, really beautiful.
“She was a very, very beautiful woman but she had no vanity. She wanted to be robust, crude, rude, whatever you wanted. There were no laws or limitations for Annie. She lived life to the full but she was an extraordinary beautiful person inside and out.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.