William Roache: ‘Coronation Street has lost one of its iconic characters’

Coronation Street actor William Roache has paid tribute to his on-screen wife, the actor Anne Kirkbride, who died tonight after a short illness.

(Eamonn and James Clarke/Eamonn and James Clarke/EMPICS Entertainment)

(Eamonn and James Clarke/Eamonn and James Clarke/EMPICS Entertainment)

William 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.”

Anne Kirkbride with on screen husband William Roache and Johnny Briggs

Anne Kirkbride with on screen husband William Roache and Deirdre’s lover Johnny Briggs, Mike Baldwin, in 1983 (PA)

He added: “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.”

His touching words were echoed by ITV director of television Peter Fincham who said Anne had ‘created a unique and unforgettable character’ and had been ‘a truly loyal servant to Coronation Street since joining the programme in the early 1970s’.

Coronation Street’s creator Tony Warren said: “Anne was very easy to love. Her talent over the years made a massive contribution to Coronation Street.”

Anne is survived by her husband David, her brother John, and his family.