Tributes have poured in from across the broadcasting world for former Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride, who has died at the age of 60.
Kirkbride, who played Deirdre Barlow for 42 years, died in a Manchester hospital on Monday evening “after a short illness”, according to ITV.
ITV director of television Peter Fincham said she had been a “truly loyal servant” to the soap since joining the cast in the early 1970s.
“She created a unique and unforgettable character in Deirdre Barlow and she’ll be greatly missed on and off screen,” he said.
“Our sincerest condolences to Anne’s husband David and her family at this very sad time.”
Coronation Street executive producer Kieran Roberts said: “There are no words to describe the sense of grief we feel at Anne’s passing. 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.”
The programme’s cast and crew were said to be “heartbroken and deeply saddened”, her husband David Beckett said.
William Roache, who played her on-screen husband Ken Barlow for many years, described her as “such a loving and vibrant person”. He added: “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.”