Martyn Hett has been slaving over the Coronation Street archive again, and brings you his 10 Reasons why he’s a Deirdre Barlow Superfan!
A while ago, I wrote an article listing the reasons I believe Gail Platt is a cultural icon. Since then, I’ve had time to reflect, and I fear I may have misled my readers. Whilst I can fully appreciate the splendour of Gail, I appear to have accidentally positioned her above another very important woman in my life – Deirdre Barlow.
Deirdre means the world to me. I have a Deirdre t-shirt, a Deirdre bag, a photo of Deirdre above my bed and even her name tattooed on my ankle (I wish I could say that was a joke, but it’s not). By bringing so much attention to Gail, I feel I have done Deirdre a disservice, and in order to rectify this, I shall be highlighting the ‘10 Reasons I’m a Deirdre Barlow Superfan’.
She’s a great singer
Deirdre’s cigarette-enhanced huskiness allows for a beautiful, raspy tone. Many compare her to Tracy Chapman, and her greatest vocal performance to date is most definitely her cover of Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’. The reaction was phenomenal, and Rihanna most probably spent the evening at home crying into her ‘whips and chains’ or whatever she wears when she watches Coronation Street. But that’s not her only vocal triumph. Below, I have compiled a couple of Deirdre’s greatest hits:
She loves a good fag and she’s not afraid to admit it
Wedding? Funeral? Bar Mitzvah? No matter the occasion, she’ll be puffing away. See fig 1.1 (below)
She throws a wicked punch
She’s a massive slut
When Deirdre arrived she had an off-screen boyfriend called ‘Seb’. She made a pass at Alan Howard who rejected her and then eventually got engaged to Ray Langton. She then moved onto Len, and then Jerry. After ditching all three of them for Billy Walker, she then left him for Maurice. Not satisfied with this string of men, she started dating Mike Baldwin and hopped between the beds of him and Ken Barlow for a few years. After getting bored of those two she had a brief fling with an electrician called Dave, before shortly moving onto Phil and then Doug. Bored of Weatherfield, she fled to Morocco where she fell in love with a 21 year old waiter called Samir and married him. Unfortunately he died, but it wasn’t long until she started a new relationship with Jon who committed credit card fraud and landed poor Deirdre in prison. At this point, she was sick of it all, and got back with Ken who she’s been with ever since. However, in the time she’s been back with him, she’s slept with Dev Alahan and given a gigolo a quick snog in a backstreet bookies. Ergo – MASSIVE SLUT. And let’s face it, everybody secretly loves a slut.
Her voice continually lowers with age
Deirdre’s booming voice is, to me, part of her appeal. This probably explains why when I’m in bed watching old episodes of Coronation Street on YouTube (which I quite frequently do) I find myself massively disappointed with 70s Deirdre, relatively disappointed with 80s Deirdre and only slightly past the point of disappointment with 90s Deirdre (although the fabulous perm does partially soften the blow). It wasn’t until the 2000s that her bellowing soundwaves found their way into my heart. The video below cleverly combines audio clips from each era, documenting the ‘huskification’ of Deirdre Barlow:
She loves a good chain belt
She’s so adored that people make compilation videos of her on YouTube
Put the term ‘Deirdre Barlow’ into YouTube and you’ll find a vast amount of fan-made videos (quite rightly so). A common format is the ‘photo slideshow’ set to a musical backdrop. My personal favourite in this subcategory has to be the video below, in which Deirdre is bizarrely placed with an obscure country and western song. Watch it and try not to fall in love. I DARE YOU.
Snoop Dogg admires her
Believe it or not, Snoop Dogg is a massive fan of Coronation Street and his favourite character is Deirdre Barlow. He’s actually been quoted as saying he wants her in his next music video. Don’t believe me? Read this article. I’m not really sure why this didn’t make the BBC Breaking News, but to try and help spread the word a little more I’ve mocked up an image of what it may have looked like had it happened:
There’s a plethora of Facebook fan-pages for her
Understandably, there are lots of Facebook fan pages for our Deirdre, but my absolute favourites have to be the following:
Her iconic stuffed marrow
Deirdre’s cooking is infamous. She regularly offers culinary delights such as shop-bought pie with peas and ready salted crisps. However, only the most avid fans of Deirdre know that her signature dish is her ‘stuffed marrow’. Because I’m a ridiculous person, I went to the effort of spending 2 hours hunting for episodes on YouTube in which her stuffed marrow is mentioned. For your viewing pleasure, I have created an epic compilation video based entirely around Deirdre’s marvellous cooking skills. Do NOT say I don’t treat you: