Coronation Street bosses have planned poignant on-screen funeral farewell for much-loved Deirdre Barlow
Coronation Street's Deirdre Barlow will be laid to rest in a soap funeral months after the death of actress Anne Kirkbride, who played the part for more than 40 years.
The star died in January having been away from the soap since September. She had taken a break from Weatherfield following her diagnosis of cancer.
Show bosses have decided on a storyline that will see her character die and be mourned by the cast at what one insider described to The Sun as "the equivalent to a state funeral in soap terms".
Many cast members were unaware that Anne was ill during her sabbatical from the soap.
The Sun reports that Anne's husband David Beckett was consulted about the plans and is said to be "very happy" with how they will run.
It has also been suggested that some old favourites from Coronation Street's past may turn up to say their goodbyes.
The 60-year-old actress was one of the soap's best-know performers and was loved by millions for her portrayal of husky-voiced Deirdre, famed for many years for her oversized spectacles.
Kirkbride, who was just 18 when she joined the soap, appeared in many colourful storylines, including one of her most memorable soap moments when Deirdre was jailed after being duped into a mortgage fraud by fiance Jon Lindsay.
The storyline even led then prime minister Tony Blair to give his support to the Free The Weatherfield One movement to get her released.
The actress previously took a break from the soap after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1993.