The world of broadcasting will pay tribute to the late Anne Kirkbride at Wednesday’s National Television Awards.
Organisers said they are planning to honour the Coronation Street actress, whose programme’s prime position on the TV landscape for more than half a century has often been recognised at the ceremony.
They are now working out last-minute plans for how to incorporate her contribution to the soap world into the event, which is being broadcast by ITV tomorrow evening.
Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride with a wax figure of her on screen character Deirdre Barlow at Madame Tussauds in Blackpool (Pete Byrne/PA)
Some of the biggest names in TV will attend the show at the O2 Arena in London, with Coronation Street already likely to have a strong presence as the show is up for the Serial Drama prize.
The ITV soap already holds the title at the publicly voted awards after winning last year.
This morning, bookmaker William Hill reported a late run of money for Corrie to win the Serial Drama award, although EastEnders is still favourite to win the prize.
Spokesman Rupert Adams said: “There has been a significant move for Coronation Street today and they could even become the favourite when the awards ceremony starts.”
Meanwhile, Coronation Street colleagues and a host of other celebrities have expressed their grief at the soap veteran’s death.
Kate Ford, who plays Deirdre’s daughter Tracy Barlow in Coronation Street, tweeted: “Heartbroken at the loss of my friend and beautiful on screen mummy. The most crazy funny 100 per cent human. My life was enriched by her”
Samia Ghadie, who plays Maria in Coronation Street, tweeted: “#RIP to a wonderful unforgettable lady.. Anne Kirkbride . We will miss you so very much x”
Debbie Rush, who plays Anna, said: “So sad. We’ll miss you so much Annie x #jellytots #sheknows xxx”
Adam Rickitt, who played Nick Tilsley, said: “Just heard … so gutted … Annie … u were pure class … a smile always when needed and a hug always from the heart #ripannekirkbride #annekirkbride
Les Dennis, who plays Michael Rodwell in Coronation Street, said: “So very sad to hear our lovely Anne Kirkbride has died. One of the true icons of @itvcorrie. We will all miss you. The nations favourite.”
Coronation Street star Georgia May Foote tweeted: “Im still in shock that Anne Kirkbride has passed away. This woman never failed to make me smile. She will be missed”
Alan Halsall, who plays Tyrone, said: “Rip Annie beautiful woman inside & out xxx #devastated #corriefamily”
Former Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan posted an emoticon of a broken heart, adding: “So so sad. Devastating news. Love you Annie. The nation is now in mourning…”
Beverley Callard, who plays Liz McDonald, tweeted: “My beautiful darling friend, Anne Kirkbride, passed away in a room filled with love. God Bless, my Darling Girl! Peace and rest!”
Andrew Whyment, who plays Kirk Sutherland, tweeted: “RIP Anne Kirkbride you will be missed so much #legend x”
Coronation Street suspended filming today to give the cast and crew a chance to come to terms with the loss of ‘vibrant presence’ Anne.
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.
The NTAs screen live on ITV at 7.30pm on Wednesday.