Filming was cancelled on the set of Coronation St today. For once the show did not go on. The sudden and untimely death of Anne Kirkbride left the cast and crew unable to focus on the daily script.
And a TV nation mourned. Anne’s character Deidre Barlow wasn’t a national icon like Ena Sharples or Elsie Tanner. Outspoken, strong women who you knew exactly what they stood for and couldn’t be messed with.
Anne’s portrayal of Deidre held more appeal to the woman next door. Whose emotions were just underneath the surface. Strong yes. But also vulnerable and sensitive. As if your concerns were Deidre’s concerns. It wouldn’t cause you to want to take up acting. But it would be reassuring. As if she embodied your own avlues, worries and concerns. It was believable.
And that is the gift of any actor. That, in their presence, you cant see the lines between fiction and reality. Thus when Deidre was imprisoned, The Prime Minister Tony Blair was caused to speak on the subject. Such was Anne Kirkbride’s believability.
Her feelings became your feelings. Her worries your worries. She embodied life perhaps as you had or were experiencing it. Drama school can’t really teach you this. You have to have lived a full life. To have experienced or understood a range of emotional experiences. And thus that is why the death of Anne Kirkbride is mourned. For people feel they have lost someone they know. Even if they have never met her. And that is a gift indeed.