Tributes were paid to Coronation Street legend Anne Kirkbride as the famous faces of the soap world gathered for a glitzy awards ceremony.
Stars including EastEnders’ Danny Dyer and Kellie Bright and actors from shows including Hollyoaks and Emmerdale gathered at Manchester’s Palace Theatre for The British Soap Awards.
The event, hosted by Phillip Schofield, recognises the year’s highlights from the soaps, with awards handed out for categories including best actor, best actress and best storyline.
Kirkbride, who played Deirdre Barlow on the cobbles for decades before her death in January, was expected to be recognised with an outstanding achievement award. Her Corrie colleagues have been posting pics from the ceremony on the official ITV Coronation Street Instagram account using the hashtag #TeamCorrie.
Speaking before the ceremony, Kym Marsh who plays Rovers Return landlady Michelle Connor, said Kirkbride was much missed.
She said: “When Anne passed away it was a very, very sad day for us. I personally had a great relationship with Anne.
“She is someone that is missed very, very much and hopefully tonight we will honour her in the best way possible.”
Andrew Whyment, who plays Kirk Sutherland in the ITV soap, said: “We didn’t know how ill Anne was so it was a shock when she died but the next day the team as a whole decided to pay tribute and we stopped filming for that day.”
Kirkbride, one of Weatherfield’s best-known faces, could win another award after she was nominated in the scene of the year category for the episode in which Deirdre threw a trifle – which was to be among her final scenes in the ITV soap.
The emotional episode saw Deirdre hurl her trifle at a wall in anger before breaking down in the arms of husband Ken, and the scenes were filmed to allow Kirkbride to take an anticipated three-month break from the show.
They show Deirdre reaching breaking point after daughter-in-law Carla and daughter Tracy argue over Carla’s reluctance to speak to her imprisoned husband Peter on the phone.