When Corrie actress Anne Kirkbride revealed exclusively in Yours that she didn’t want to grow old on the street’s cobbles, nobody could have foreseen how tragically her wish would turn out.
Back then in early 2009, she was full of hope for her later years and Deirdre - the character she’s played since her teens - wasn’t a part of it.
During a rare, heart to heart interview with Yours in February 2009, the famously private star who died yesterday aged 60, had revealed how the iconic role had been a blessing as well as a curse, interfering as it did with her jealously guarded private life.
After already battling cancer and serious depression, she said how she was finally in a better place and with beloved husband and former Corrie actor Dave Beckett at her side, she intended to make the most of it.
Speaking in 2009: “My life started in my late 40s. If all I have to do is take one tablet (an antidepressant) a day, I’ll do it. I don’t feel any stigma. I’m just so grateful I feel the way I do now.
“I don’t know what the future holds. I’m open minded but I’m 54 and I don’t want to grow old working as hard as I am now – out on the cold cobbles for hours on a Monday morning in the middle of winter!” she revealed.
A simpler life painting, she was a talented artist, and lapping up the sunshine and local cuisine at her Spanish villa and spending time with her two nephews Sammy and Alfie and cat at her South Manchester home was what she had in mind.
Tragically it wasn’t to be when she died from a short illness after requesting to be written out of the soap to deal with personal issues just a few months ago. Only a handful of close friends and family knew she was ill prior to her peaceful death in a Manchester hospital.
Inevitably, she’ll be sorely missed by millions who’ve followed her numerous on screen dramas for the past 42 years.
To the nation, she was simply Deirdre Barlow - but woe betide anyone who confused her with her character off set. “I ignore it completely; it’s not me. I have to have my own identity or I’d go mad,” she admitted.
Famously honest, kind and a self confessed emotional “sucker for a sob story” (she particularly liked to support the homeless) her good heart became tested when people called her Deirdre and not Anne or Annie as she preferred.
By whatever name we choose to remember her (and with three husbands in Corrie she had several just on screen) one thing is for sure: remember her we all will. She will be much missed.
- To read the full interview from the Yours interview in February 2009 click here.