It's Deirdre's funeral tonight on Coronation Street as I'm sure you'll all be aware. Recent episodes have been hard to watch but also executed very well, all things considered. Paying tribute to the character of Deirdre Barlow was always going to be tough for all concerned.
The emotion on display from the likes of Ken, Emily, Tracy and Liz was so real it blurred the lines between fact and fiction. It was always going to be this way given the tragic events off screen back in January. The actors, the writers, the entire crew at Corrie have obviously worked extremely hard to do this send off justice and it shows. I thought the reactions from Ken, Emily and Liz were absolutely spot on. It was right that Bev came back to break the news and the symbolic appearance of Deirdre's glasses was not overplayed and did not feel like a retread of Hilda and Stan all those years before.
I loved everyone gathering in the Rovers and most of all I thought the discovery of Deirdre's battered old Quality Street tin was a delight. It was the kind of moment experienced by many families up and down the land and the letter was very true to Deirdre herself. Lots of red wine, Freshco's finest ham, a short service for those gasping for a fag and a bit of gutsy Nina Simone at the end. Perfect.
I could have done without a couple of things. I thought the gust of wind blowing the Rovers door open was unnecessary and a bit clumsy. The episodes had been so powerful that it really wasn't needed. I know these days that focusing on Deirdre's death just wouldn't be enough for these episodes, that more would be required. The snippets of Roy and Cathy were fair enough but must we contrast the farewell of such a fine, legendary Corrie character with the ongoing dull drudgery that is the Callum - Sarah - Bethany - David - Kyile merry-go-round? These two storylines hardly compliment each other and every appearance Callum made jarred terribly with the emotional tale unfolding at the Barlows.
I know Deirdre's funeral will be spot on tonight. Coronation Street do big events ever so well. Damon Rochefort is a highly skilled Corrie writer who appreciates the history of the show and the fantastic legacy of this much-missed character. Damon delivered a wonderful tribute to Anne Kirkbride on BBC Radio 4's Last Word programme back in January and I'm sure he will deliver the same tonight.
I know the funeral will generate further animosity between Ken and Tracy. Funerals have a habit of doing things like that and I hope we see a change in Tracy now her main protector and supporter has gone. However instead of the endless Barlow bickering, I hope tonight's episodes focus on what a life force Deirdre was - the passionate woman from the back streets who married Ray Langton, married Ken twice, stole the heart of Mike Baldwin and will now forever be linked to those sexy specs, stuffed marrows and gargantuan belts which told many a tale.
Monday's episodes of Coronation Street will be deeply sad and moving but they must also celebrate the passing of a legendary Corrie character we all laughed with, cried with and cheered on over 42 years. I'll have my large glass of red wine at the ready.
You can listen to the Last Word tribute here
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