Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Deirdre Barlow, you little belter!

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in August 2014.)

This blog comes directly from the fact I discovered last night that when I text "Deirdre" on my phone the immediate suggestion provided afterwards is the word "belts". While this probably confirms some alarmingly near the knuckle facts about me and my day to day correspondence, it also shows how much a classic Corrie character like Deirdre Barlow has seeped into our every day consciousness. 

I love Deirdre and I adore Anne Kirkbride. Such a stalwart of Coronation Street. I can't imagine playing the same character for over forty years. We've all laughed and cried along with Deirdre as she's coped with massive bins, dodgy outfits and even dodgier perms. Not to mention the men in her life - Ray Langton, Billy Walker, Mike Baldwin, Jon Lindsay and of course our Kenneth. Perhaps those re-entry shields were never strong enough...

While she's never had the best luck with the fellas, she's always had her family. Sadly, Deirdre's father Donald was knocked down and killed when she was a young child, however mother Blanche, a woman who's acerbic wit could lacerate the hopes, dreams and ambitions  of the most positive person before she'd finished her Grape Nuts, was always on hand to provide wise council. "Good looks are a curse Deirdre, you and Ken should count yourselves lucky". With a mother like that, what more do you need?

Ah, the answer of course is the she-devil herself, Tracy Lynette. I can't even begin to summarise Tracy's unpleasant, Machiavellian deeds in a mere blog. Deirdre, being the wonderful mother she is, always forgives her daughter, no matter what the crime might be. Yes, she even forgave her for that truly atrocious *sexy dance* performed seconds before she staved Charlie Stubbs' head in. 

I've loved Deirdre's return to form while Ken has been marinating his tofu over in Canada. She has been the family rock, a tower of strength. She has reclaimed her backbone and started telling it like it is once again. She is also regularly down right hilarious when given the chance. I really hope these qualities don't melt away now Ken is back, bearing feeble gifts of maple syrup and rulers. Honestly, he was away for over a year and that's all they got?!

I hope Deirdre doesn't end up back in the shadows now Ken is centre stage, fighting another of his causes. I loved it when she screamed "shut up, shut up, shut up!!" at Ken. It was like the cork had finally come off Deirdre's bottle of frustration. I hope the tide will continue to turn.  The idea of sending them off to Wales on a camping trip is faintly ludicrous although if it provides some interesting two hander scenes for Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache away from the regular interruptions at number one, maybe it won't be so bad.

I'd like to see Deirdre more involved in the local community and not just saddled with the never-ending miasma of horrors at the Barlow residence. I seem to recall she joined a Weatherfield Women's Action Group a while back but nothing more has come of this. What a golden opportunity missed. I also think she is wasted working at the Medical Centre. We rarely see her there. Either give her a storyline there or let's see Deirdre in a new job. 

I loved her partnership with Alf at the Corner Shop back in the day. Perhaps Deirdre should return to work behind the counter once again? She's got to be better with the customers than grumpy knickers Sophie Webster. I've long thought the Corner Shop should be more of a focus in Corrie, like it used to be. And to do that they need a middle aged woman behind the counter - make it a centre for the street gossip once more.

Whatever happens, I hope Anne Kirkbride sticks with Coronation Street for many more years to come. She's a joy. 

See also: The truth about Deirdre Barlow's belt

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