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Deirdre Barlow – everything you need to know about the Coronation Street favourite

Deirdre Barlow Coronation Street 1998
(Image credit: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Here's everything you need to know about Deirdre Barlow - one of the most beloved characters Coronation Street has ever seen...

Deirdre Barlow, played by the legendary Anne Kirkbride, will go down in Coronation Street history for her huge glasses, husky voice and her signature dish of stuffed marrows!

Deirdre first appeared on the cobbles in 1972 and stayed in Weatherfield for more than 40 years - and she certainly packed plenty into her four decades in the soap. From marrying Ken Barlow twice, to her continuous battling with beloved daughter, Tracy...

Here is everything you need to know about the unforgettable Coronation Street favourite Deirdre Barlow...

Four weddings, three husbands 

While Deirdre had 10 romances during her time in Weatherfield, she only got married four times... twice to the same man!

In 1975 Deirdre married Ray Langton and went on to have her only child, Tracy, in January 1977. But their marriage only lasted three years before Ray had an affair and emigrated to the Netherlands without Deirdre or their daughter.

Deirdre and Ken's 1981 wedding

Deirdre and Ken's 1981 wedding

In 1981  Deirdre went on to marry the love of her life, Ken Barlow. The couple's wedding was watched by more than 24 million Corrie fans... which was more than the number of people who tuned in to watch Price of Wales marry Lady Diana Spencer.

Ken went on to adopt Tracy but the couple's plans to have a child of their own were put on hold. By 1982 Deirdre had an affair with Mike Baldwin, leading to one of the best love triangles to appear in a soap. The feud between Ken and Mike lasted for decades, right up until the day Mike died in April 2006, when they were still arguing over Deirdre.

"Coronation Street" TV series - 1989

Mike was always the other man in Deirdre's life!

In 1983 Deirdre went back to Ken, but their romance was a rocky one and they divorced in 1992 when Ken had an affair with Wendy Crozier, who he met while working at the Weatherfield Recorder.

Deirdre went on to marry Samir Rachid after meeting him while she was on holiday in Morocco. He might have been nearly 20 years younger than her, and many thought their marriage was purely to keep Samir in the UK, but the pair showed a genuine love for one another and planned to move to Morocco together.

Just days before they were due to leave, Samir was attacked by thugs. Not only that, he was also just hours away from donating a kidney to Tracy. Deirdre kept vigil by his hospital bedside but was eventually forced to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support machine.

In December 2001 Deirdre had an ill-advised night of passion with Dev Alahan, only for him to tell her the next morning it was a huge mistake. He then went on to date her daughter, Tracy. In 2003 Deirdre confessed the fling to Ken, but he forgave her.

The pair got married for the second time in 2005, and this time their nuptials coincided with another royal wedding... this time is was the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker-Bowles. One again, Ken and Deirdre won the ratings battle with more than 12 million tuning in to see them tie the knot for a second time and just 9 million watching the royal wedding.

Free the Weatherfield One

Some classic TV Times covers featuring Deirdre Barlow

Some classic TV Times covers featuring Deirdre Barlow

In 1997 Deirdre fell in love with Jon Lindsay, who claimed he was an airline pilot. Ken eventually found out that Jon was a fraud and actually worked in a tie shop at Manchester Airport... and later it was revealed that Jon was also married. Deirdre tried to get the money back that she gave to Jon for a mortgage, but little did she know he had been implicating her in various fraudulent scams and she was soon arrested for fraud... leading to her getting an 18 month prison sentence.

Fans were horrified to see Deirdre wrongly jailed and set up a petition to get her freed... even the Prime Minister at the time, Tony Blair, got involved and called for 'The Weatherfield One' to be set free.

Sharp-tonged Blanche 

While people loved Deirdre for her bluntness, that was nothing in comparison to her legendary mother, Blanche. Fans loved watching Blanche give her daughter and son-in-law Ken a dressing down, making their family dynamics one of the highlights of Coronation Street. In May 2010 Deirdre got the devastating news that her mother had sadly died in Portugal.

Farewell Deirdre Barlow

Deirdre was last seen on screen on 8th October 2014 after actress Anne Kirkbride took an extended break from the soap. It was suggested in the press that she was bowing out of the soap indefinitely because of the pressures of Deirdre's storylines. However it sadly turned out that Anne was battling breast cancer, which tragically took her life in January 2015. Deirdre was then killed off in a storyline that saw her suffer a brain aneurysm while visiting her friend Bev Unwin, leaving Coronation Street residents, and the entire nation, devastated.

Main and Mike pic ITV/Rex/Shutterstock; Ken and Deidre Barlow wedding: Morris/ANL/REX/Shutterstock

Claire Crick
Claire Crick

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.