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Deirdre & Me - Forty Years on Coronation Street was a one-hour programme made to mark the fortieth anniversary of Anne Kirkbride making her debut in Coronation Street and was transmitted on Tuesday 13th November 2012 at 8.00pm, exactly one week before the actual anniversary of her first appearance in the show.
Anne Kirkbride was interviewed in depth about her life outside of the show, from her birth in Oldham to her childhood in Saddleworth and her acting training at the Oldham Theatre Workshop. Her debut in television in Jack Rosenthal’s 1972 play Another Sunday and Sweet FA was covered which led to her appearance in Coronation Street later that year. The development of the character was charted with special emphasis on the two headline-making storylines of Deirdre’s affair with Mike Baldwin in 1983 and her imprisonment after being defrauded by bogus airline pilot Jon Lindsay in 1998.
Cast members who have appeared with Anne Kirkbride were interviewed at length including William Roache, Chris Gascoyne and Kate Ford while Michelle Keegan, Antony Cotton and Ryan Thomas also paid tribute. From behind the cameras Phil Collinson and Jonathan Harvey also appeared. Johnny Briggs made a return to the set to be reunited with his co-stars and David Beckett, who joined the show briefly in 1990 to play Deirdre’s love-interest Dave Barton and who quickly started a relationship with Anne that led to their marriage in 1992, also spoke of their life together. Her late father, cartoonist Jack Kirkbride, was shown in an archive interview from 2001.
With some brief filming in Spain where the Becketts live for part of the year, the programme also showed a successful exhibition of Anne’s paintings held in Didsbury (Anne comes from a family of artists). A poignant part of the programme was a tribute played by Anne to Maggie Jones who she described as her “pretend mum” and who she said she still misses very much.
The programme was narrated by Lesley Sharp, the researcher was Yasmin Hussein, the executive producer was Mark Robinson and was both produced and directed by Patrick Talbot. It gained ratings of 2.98 million viewers (chart placing unknown).
Deirdre & Me - A TributeEdit
A revised half-hour version of the programme was transmitted on ITV1 on Tuesday 3rd February 2015 at 7.30pm, fifteen days after the death of Anne Kirkbride. With a new introduction by William Roache, this version excised all the sections relating to Anne's fight against Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1993. This transmission gained 2,730,000 viewers (chart placing unknown) and was repeated on ITV2 on Thursday 5th February at 1.15pm and Sunday 8th February at 11.30am.