It is with great sadness that David Beckett has confirmed tonight that his beloved wife and Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride has passed away peacefully in a Manchester hospital after a short illness.
David and the programme's cast and crew are heartbroken and deeply saddened at the loss of Anne who has been a Coronation Street icon for 44 years.
"There are no words to describe the sense of grief we feel at Anne's passing," said Executive Producer Kieran Roberts. "We know only too acutely how much Anne meant to the millions of people who watched her create the legendary character of Deirdre Barlow.
"She will be greatly missed by the Coronation Street team who share happy memories of working with her. We feel blessed and honoured to have known her. Our thoughts are with David and their family."
ITV Director of Television Peter Fincham echoed Kieran's thoughts.
"Anne has been a truly loyal servant to Coronation Street since joining the programme in the early 1970s. She created a unique and unforgettable character in Deirdre Barlow and she'll be greatly missed on and off screen.
"Our sincerest condolences to Anne's husband David and her family at this very sad time."
Coronation Street’s creator Tony Warren captured the feelings of all who knew Anne:
“Anne was very easy to love. Her talent over the years made a massive contribution to Coronation Street.”
William Roache who played Anne’s onscreen husband Ken Barlow said:
“I feel Anne’s loss so personally having worked closely with her for over 40 years. She was such a loving and vibrant person. You always knew she was there because her laugh was never far away.
"She was an impeccable performer with superb comedy timing and an immense gift for really heightened drama. We had some rows over the years as Ken and Deirdre and it was wonderful to play those scenes opposite her. Coronation Street has lost one of its iconic characters and Anne will be greatly missed.”
Anne is survived by her husband, David, her brother John, and his family.
David has appealed to the media to respect his privacy and that of Anne’s family at this very sad and distressing time.
Anne passed away on Monday evening (19 January) aged 60.
Yesterday Corrie took over Twitter to answer your questions. It was only supposed to last 30 minutes but we enjoyed ourselves so much it went on for over an hour and a half!
Look below to see some of our favourite tweets from Oliver Farnworth, Sean Ward, Tisha Merry, Katie McGlynn, Sair Khan, Quasim Akhtar, Daniel Brocklebank, Hayley Tamaddon, Dean Fagan and Georgia May Foote!
And if you enjoyed yourself then please: Vote Corrie for Best Serial Drama
These are the first shots of the dramatic minibus crash which leaves the life of one of Coronation Street’s much-loved residents hanging in the balance.
The staff of Underworld will be caught up in the horrific accident as they head off on a factory outing - in a Street Cars minibus driven by Steve McDonald.
The night ends in disaster when the bus is cut up and run off the road by a gang of boy racers.
As the dust settles at the crash scene it becomes clear that many of the passengers are injured and at least one of them is trapped in the minibus, which is dangerously close to the edge of a sheer drop!
Will everyone manage to get out safely before the stricken vehicle plunges over the cliff?
The crash will be transmitted across three episodes which will air on January 19th and 21st - but the drama continues in the weeks to come as the residents come to terms with the consequences of the accident.
Meanwhile Steve is finally forced to face up to his depression as his actions on the night of the crash are called into question by his family and the other crash victims.
Arch enemies Carla and Tracy are also at the centre of the drama which will change their relationship forever.
The mini bus crash was filmed over three weeks and the scenes include hundreds of special effects. Some of the filming even required the cast to be strapped upside down in the smashed up vehicle.
Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn said:
”Everyone involved in filming these dramatic episodes is very proud of the end results. The stunt is breathtaking and is real edge of the seat stuff.
“But, in the spirit of great storytelling, the crash itself is just the start of the drama and will have far reaching effects for all the people involved in the coming months.”
Take a look at the first pictures of Mel B taking to the the cobbles of Coronation Street for the Text Santa Christmas special.
Keep checking back for more pictures and big surprises on the build up to Text Santa night on Friday 19th December.
Coronation Street is going LIVE for a special episode in celebration of ITV's 60th Anniversary.
Speaking today at the Salford Media Festival, ITV’s Director of Television Peter Fincham will confirm Coronation Street is to broadcast a live episode in 2015 from its new production base in Trafford, Manchester.
The special episode will be filmed at Coronation Street's state-of-the-art production facility in MediaCityUK, on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal and will mark ITV’s 60 years on air.
Cast, crew and writers have received the news this morning (19 November) ahead of the announcement. The live episode will broadcast in September 2015 and will ensure viewers are tantalised by storylines reaching a dramatic climax.
"We’re delighted to be marking ITV’s 60th anniversary with a live episode from Coronation Street’s brilliant new studios and set," said Executive Producer Kieran Roberts.
"We’re immensely proud of our new home and it’s been the most amazing first year of production.
"The cast, writers, and production team are exhilarated by the prospect of a live broadcast as the programme’s 50th anniversary episode was received so brilliantly by the audience,” he added.
Coronation Street Producer Stuart Blackburn, who produced Emmerdale’s live special to celebrate the drama’s 40th anniversary in 2012, will mastermind Coronation Street’s live episode whilst continuing to oversee the soap.
His production team will pre-record episodes across the summer of 2015 which will dovetail into the live episode in September.
“It’s an honour to be at the helm as Coronation Street goes live once more,” said Stuart.
“We’ve a reputation to uphold after the success of the tram crash and I’m going to enjoy working with the storyliners and writers as we plot stories for our live episode in 2015.
We’ll be doing all we can to eclipse what’s gone before,” said Stuart.
There is more trouble ahead for the Armstrong Windass clan early next year with the arrival of Katy and Izzy’s estranged mum Linda.
Owen’s ex will be played by former Doctors and Eastenders actress Jacqueline Leonard.
Linda turns up unexpectedly in Weatherfield in February keen to build bridges with the daughters she left behind when they were children.
Owen, Katy and Izzy are stunned when she arrives on the cobbles from her home in Portugal as she hasn’t been in contact for years.
Having always been told by their dad that Linda abandoned them as she couldn’t cope with them as children, Katy and Izzy are reluctant to give her the time of day.
But it soon becomes evident that Owen was perhaps a little economical with the truth and Linda’s arrival puts the cat amongst the pigeons - not least with Anna who is worried about Owen’s relationship with his ex.
"I am incredibly honoured and excited to be joining the amazing cast of Coronation Street.
"I love the Northern wit and humour along with the drama and tension that the wonderful scripts of Coronation Street encapsulate. So excited to start!"
Stuart Blackburn said:
“Linda's arrival will have a devastating affect on how Owen's family see him and he'll have the fight of his life to hold on to everyone and everything he holds dear.
"The sins of the father really will visit Owen's children."
Jacqueline is a popular face on television having played regular roles on several other dramas including Peak Practice, Holby City and most recently River City.
Disaster is set to strike in Weatherfield this winter when a mini-bus crash leaves some of the Street’s favourite residents fighting for their lives!
Planning has started on the dramatic stunt which will be filmed before Christmas and screened in the New Year.
The staff of Underworld will be caught up in the horrific crash as they head off on a works’ outing - in a Street Cars minibus driven by Steve McDonald.
Exact details are being kept under wraps but more than one character will be hospitalised as a result of the crash and one Underworld knicker stitcher’s life will be on the line!
Locations for the smash are currently being explored to find a suitably dramatic setting for what promises to be a high octane start to 2015 for Corrie fans.
Keep checking back for more news and previews in the coming weeks and look out for our exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast during the stunt!