#1 Free the Weatherfield one – 1998
Deirdre fell for fake pilot Jon Lindsay and ended up in court on a fraud trial. Jon was a con man of the highest order and gullible Deirdre believed all of his lies. In court, Deirdre was sent down for eighteen months. As the judge gave his sentence, Deirdre broke down and cried: ‘I didn’t do any of it!‘
Deirde’s storyline resulted in a huge public response. The campaign to Free the Weatherfield One was launched. Headlines screamed against the injustice of her sentence and questions were asked in Parliament. Deirdre was freed after just three weeks in jail.
#2 Love Triangle with Ken and Mike – 1983
Over 18 million fans tuned in to watch the love triangle of Deirdre, Ken and Mike. It was the most emotionally gripping storyline that Coronation Street had ever run. It resulted in unprecedented reaction from the public and the press. Deirdre and Ken split for the first time and although they would end up together again, their marriage would never truly recover.
#3 Two Weddings to Ken – 1981/2005
When Deirdre married Ken for the first time in 1981 it cemented their partnership as one of the best-loved couples on television. More than 15 million viewers tuned in to watch their first wedding in 1981. It took place two days before HRH Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer.
Their 2005 wedding coincided almost exactly with HRH Prince Charles’s wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles. The Barlows beat the royals in the ratings. More than 13 million viewers tuned in to celebrate Ken and Deirdre tying the knot for a second time, compared to 8 million viewers for the royal wedding.
#4 Lorry Crashes into the Rovers – 1979
Deirdre was at the heart of one of coronation street’s most gripping storylines when a lorry crashed into the Rovers. The disaster saw Deirdre brought to the brink of desperation as she considered suicide when Tracy was kidnapped in the crash.
#5 Gail Pies Deirdre – 2010
Deirdre was caught kissing Lewis Archer – their snog was recorded on CCTV at Barlow’s Bookies. The kiss was given a very public airing when it was shown at Gail’s house, which was full of people attending Audrey’s leaving party. Furious with Deirdre for making a mockery of her mother, Gail picked up a Manchester tart filled with cream and chucked it at Deirdre. It hit Deirdre slap-bang in the middle of her face. The cream stuck to Deirdre’s glasses. ‘Ken! Do Something!’ she wailed.
#6 Deirdre and Tracy Star in Two-Hander – 2007
There have only ever been two Coronation Street episodes featuring just two characters. One of those was a tense two-hander when Tracy confessed to Deirdre that she’d killed Charlie STubbs. The episode was set in Deirdre’s house as she sat drinking wine and smoking while Tracy did the ironing. Deirdre’s relationship with Tracy came under the spotlight in the two-hander. Old wounds were aired, insults were flung, and some nasty home truths were revealed.
#7 Moroccan Toy Boy Samir – 1994-1995
Deirdre met Samir on holiday in Agadir. He worked as a waiter in the hotel where she stayed. It was more than a holiday fling and Samir left the sunshine of Morocco to live in Weatherfield with Deirdre. Despite the age gap and all her friends disapproving of their relationship, Deirdre and Samir wed.
When Tracy needed a kidney transplant Samir was found to be a match. On his way to the hospital for the operation Samir was attacked as he walked along the canal towpath and ended up unconscious in hospital. Deirdre had to make the heartbreaking decision to run off his life-support machine and gave her permission for his kidney to be used to save Tracy’s life.
#8 Deirdre and Dev 2001
When Deirdre fell for her shopkeeper boss Dev, she managed to make a complete fool of herself. After a row with Ken one night, she ended up in Dev’s bed. It was an experience she wanted to repeat but Dev didn’t want anything to do with her, much to Deirdre’s embarassment.
#9 Councillor Barlow – 1987-1991
Deirdre won the election when she stood against Alf Roberts as an Independent candidate on Weatherfield Council. She thought Ken was supportive of her but he was only using her to split the vote so that Labour would win. Ken wasn’t happy with his wife as a career woman councillor, and as Deirdre soared to dizzy heights working on the council, Ken took refuge in the arms of a woman who would become Deirdre’s biggest foe: Wendy ‘flaming’ Crozier…
#10 Wendy Crozier – 1989/2012
Ken’s affair with Wendy Crozier would blow his marriage to Deirdre apart. In a highly tense and emotional showdown, Deirdre challenged Ken and told him she knew he was up to no good with another woman. Framed by her perm and her glasses, Deirdre’s face was fierce and furious as she looked down on him, sitting in his chair. ‘I want to know where you’ve been and who with!’ The storyline topped the Christmas TV ratings in 1989.
In 2012 Wendy returned to cause more angst for Deirdre. This time Wendy was a widow by the name of Mrs Papadorpoulos, and she was after Ken once more. Word for word, in a repeat of Wendy’s earlier appearance in their lives, Deirdre spat at Ken: ‘I want to know where you’ve been, and who with!’