Coronation Street’s Deirdre Barlow will be laid to rest in a soap funeral months after the death of actress Anne Kirkbride, who played the part for more than 40 years.

The star died in January after taking time away from the soap last September following her diagnosis with cancer.

Anne Kirkbride



Anne Kirkbride died in January (Peter Byrne/PA)

 

Coronation Street bosses have decided on a storyline that will see her character die and be mourned by the cast at what one insider described as ‘the equivalent to a state funeral in soap terms’.

The 60-year-old actress was one of the soap’s best-known performers and was loved by millions for her portrayal of husky-voiced Deirdre, famed for her oversized spectacles.

Anne appeared in many colourful storylines over the years, including one of her most memorable soap moments when Deirdre was jailed after being duped into a mortgage fraud by fiance Jon Lindsay.

Anne Kirkbride, who played Deirdre Barlow



Deirdre’s prison sentence sparked a national campaign to free her (Dave Thompson/PA)

 

The storyline even led then prime minister Tony Blair to give his support to the Free The Weatherfield One movement to get her released.

The actress previously took a break from the soap after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1993.