It’s hard to believe now but such was the dominance of TV’s Coronation Street in the 1980s that millions tuned in every week. Its story lines often set the agenda for the nation’s media and became the main talking point in houses, clubs and pubs across the land.
Actress Anne Kirkbride as Deidre was at the centre of Corrie for 40 years.
One of the highlights of her career was her on-screen wedding to Ken Barlow ( William Roache ) in July 1981. There were more ITV viewers for the soap marriage than the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on the same day.
But even this was eclipsed by Deirdre’s extra-marital affair with Mike Baldwin Johnny Briggs ) in 1983.
As Britain held its breath, a bishop in London warned Granada of the dangers of it all seeming too realistic; a woman in Halifax gave birth in an ambulance, having delayed her departure to hospital to witness the lovers’ first illicit kiss; and the Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman, one of the Street’s greatest fans, declared that Ken Barlow deserved better.
The fling excited the divided consternation of Fleet Street’s finest, with Jean Rook of the Daily Express advising Deirdre to “stick with Ken” and her Daily Mail rival Lynda Lee Potter urging her to leave boring Ken for exciting Mike.
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