Thursday, 9 July 2015

Rest in peace, Deirdre Barlow

I've just finished watching the episode where Bev Unwin brought the bad news of Deirdre's death to Weatherfield on Deirdre's 60th birthday. Everyone was excited to see her. Ken had bought her a new stove! She might not have been as excited about it as he was but she'd have appreciated the sentiment. He let Liz organize a party. Tracy came back from London in time for it, too, and the kids decorated.

Watching the reactions as the news spread through the pub was not easy, especially when you know that the actors were chanelling very real grief into their performances. I don't think there was one unrealistic performance and every one of the actors hit it out of the park, even the ones that don't normally do emotion very well or very often.

I was waiting to see Ken's reaction in particular. William Roache doesn't often put a lot of emotion into things, I find. Once in awhile, when Ken is really angry, Roache pulls it out. This time, though, it was on the money. Very much how Ken would react. Frozen at first. I thought, oh here we go again, but no, it's exactly how Ken would take the news. Shock. Numb. It can't be real.

The first real crack in his demeanor was when Bev gave him Deirdre's glasses. I have to say I'm a littly, tiny bit disappointed that they used that ploy. To me, the classic scene of Hilda Ogden crying over Stan's glasses really can't be beat or duplicated but I'm not very objective. Bev said she didn't know what to do with the glasses. Why didn't she have Deirdre's wedding ring and any other jewellry in her bag as well? That would have all been handed over by the hospital.

Never mind. Of course Ken would have been overcome over the glasses. Deirdre was all about rocking the specs. It was her character's defining prop, that and her chain belts!

Audrey was in bits, just so, so sad, and wasn't she kind to Tracy? She made sure Tracy felt the full measure of Audrey's sympathy. We all know that nobody really likes Tracy but also, nobody really wants to see anyone lose a loved one, even the Street troublemaker. Tracy was a bit selfish in her reactions, as you would expect. She muttered about Liz "bigging" herself and her grief up. But she has to be Tracy and Tracy *was* close to her mother even when they were at odds. TracyLuv, that's what Deirdre called her daughter and that certainly hit hard when Audrey called her that.

Liz was Deirdre's best friend. Liz was brave, she touched up her makeup and faced the pub to give them the news, just like a landlady should. She got through it and then broke down. Steve was concerned for his mother, as he should. Over in the booth, Emily's reaction was the one that got to me the most. Deirdre was like a daughter to Emily and again, Eileen Derbyshire played it perfectly, with her own best friends, Rita and Norris at her side to comfort her. I'd say Rita has known Deirdre just as long as Emily but Deirdre was far closer to Emily. A mother figure to Deirdre as much as Dierdre was a daughter figure to her.

And then there is Ken, at the end of the show, in the ginnel where Deirdre had snuck many a crafty fag while staring up at the stars. I give full marks to Steve. Instead of backing off and running for cover, like he probably would have done a few months ago, unable to cope with anyone else's problems, he stood up and went right over. Ken broke down and Steve gathered him up and held him. That was probably the best scene of the night.

The rest of the week will see the news spread but nothing will have the impact that tonight's show did.

Rest in peace, Deirdre.

Martin Hett's video tribute to Deirdre
Jordan's episode review
My favourite Deirdre things
The Official Deirdre Barlow book
Deirdre Barlow's best moments

 by Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

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Humpty Dumpty said...

I agree about the belts. They were just as personal to Deirdre as her glasses but it might have been too comical for Bev to hand over a bag of belts.

There was a little bit of rewriting of history. Liz and Deirdre were 'best friends' but we hardly saw them together. I hoped when Liz returned that we'd see the two of them out and about but it never happened.

I really like Ken and Steve together. A father and son relationship of sorts while Jim and Peter were a similar duo in prison.

Anonymous said...

It was interesting, in the wake of Anne Kirkbride's untimely passing, that we heard a lot about her extra-Corrie friendships with Bill and Beverly. The actress who plays her granddaughter, Amy, even had a central role at her memorial service. Missing in action was Kate Ford, whom I would have imagined to be close, just because of the screen time they shared together. If that felt like an omission up to this point, Kate's performance last night was a form of rightness. Tracy's grief was so on the surface - selfish maybe, but - unabashed. I was thankful for that. I agree with Jordan's review that praised Kate Ford's performance. She gets so many negative comments mostly, but she was fantastic yesterday, and I do hope that this proves a turning point for her character...

Anonymous said...

To me, Bev bringing the glasses made sense. As she said, Deirdre had packed the rest of her things that morning and they were in the boot of Bev's car. He wedding ring and anything else she was wearing would be among her personal effects at the hospital and returned to the family in due course. But she would have had her glasses with her when she went to sit in the garden, and may have removed them herself or the paramedics may have done so. Thus, when Bev returned home from the hospital before driving to Weatherfield, she would have found Deidre's glasses and brought them with her to give to Ken. At least, that's the way I understood that scene.

Flaming Nora said...

Lovely Diane. I think the glasses was a nice touch but you're right about her wedding ring of course. I wasn't that keen on the gust of wind blowing into the Rovers and felt it would have been far nicer to have everyone raise their glasses "To Deirdre!" and then the credits roll respectfully instead of the ghost nonsense.

Tvor said...

If you believe in such things, what is more likely to have happened is a momentary dimming or flickering of the lights as a sign from the spirit of the departed but I've heard of things like they wrote with the pub door coming open, too.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the hospital would have handed Deirdre's personal effect to Bev, as she isn't a relative. They would be returned to Ken.

John McE said...

What a pity that Norris was his usual selfish self. It would have been far more poignant to show that he was upset, just for once.

And the glasses scene would have been very touching had it not been a carbon copy of Hilda reacting to Stan's glasses.

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