Coronation Street suspended filming today to give the cast and crew a chance to come to terms with the loss of “vibrant presence” Anne Kirkbride following her death from cancer.
The 60-year-old actress, who starred in the ITV soap for 44 years, died on Monday in a Manchester hospital and had been away from the screen since September after taking a break.
The show’s executive producer, Kieran Roberts, said it was “almost unheard of” to take a break but explained it was the “right thing to do”, to allow her friends to grieve and remember.
Colleagues have paid tribute to the star – who leaves behind husband David Beckett – who had been loved by millions for her portrayal of husky-voiced Deirdre Barlow.
William Roache, who played one of her on-screen husbands, said: “Annie was a vibrant presence. When she was there you knew she was there. She was always loving, always happy – there was never a laugh far away.
“It’s the whole thought that she isn’t around any more is the hard thing. We’ve had rows, we’ve shouted, we’ve argued, we’ve been violent with each other, we’ve got cross with each other. But we’ve laughed, oh boy, have we laughed – always,”