Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roach as Deidre and Ken

Coronation Street actor William Roache has spoken about co-star and friend Anne Kirkbride ahead of her memorial service which takes place in Manchester tomorrow.

William spoke to Good Morning Britain on ITV earlier today about ‘beautiful’ co-star Anne Kirkbride who died in January. The Corrie star, who first appeared as Ken Barlow back in episode one in 1960 and worked with Anne for 35 years on the top rating serial, spoke from Manchester Cathedral, where the memorial will take place.

“I probably spent as much time with her as I did with my family and [we] certainly got on very, very well… It’s very, very strange because we’re actually filming the funeral of Deirdre and I had a scene as Ken where I’m given Deirdre’s glasses but of course Annie wore them for 30 years so you certainly don’t need any motivation for the acting. We’re always on the verge [of tears]. The day after she died… I walked towards that set, I felt her presence because she did have an incredible presence.”

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“There was always a laugh waiting from Annie, whatever we were doing. The more serious it was, the more likely there was going to be a laugh and tomorrow at her memorial service there’ll be laughter, that’s what she wants she was a fun-loving person, she grabbed life, she loved life. An indication to how loved she was on all sides of the camera, three members of the crew… are going to get up and do a piece… she loved everybody.”

On his involvement in tomorrow’s memorial William, who at times became choked with emotion, told the ITV breakfast show:

“I’m just reading a poem, there’s plenty of people who are talking about her, I’m just reading a little poem at the beginning which I think is appropriate to her and I hope she’ll like it. I think she will…. I saw her the day she died, she died in the evening on the Monday and I went that afternoon and I was warned she’d lost a lot of weight… When I saw her, she’d lost some weight but it had all gone back onto her beautiful bone structure and she looked beautiful, really beautiful and she was a very, very beautiful woman but she had no vanity. She wanted to be robust, crude, rude, whatever you wanted there were no laws or limitations for Annie. She lived life to the full but she was an extraordinary beautiful person inside and out.”

Anne Kirkbride 90s

Speaking about his Corrie co-stars, William said they have all felt the loss.

“It is a family and doing the funeral that we’re doing of Deirdre next week, Annie will be there, we’re just feeling her there the whole time… I know I have never heard a single bad word or criticism about Annie, you couldn’t. I used to call her a love bomb because she exploded with love so she was a love bomb. She liked that.”

The Memorial Service at Manchester Cathedral, a short distance from the former Granada Television Quay Street studios, will be covered in ITV’s regional Granada Reports programming in the North West tomorrow as well as a national feature on ITV News.

Ken Deirdre

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