Late Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride was today described as a “colourful character” by a Chester actor who worked alongside her.

Ian Puleston-Davies, who plays Owen Armstrong in the soap, said he felt “numb” on hearing the news of Anne’s death.

Ian Puleston-Davies.
Ian Puleston-Davies.
 

Ian, who was born and bred in Flint but now lives in Chester, told Phil Williams on BBC’s 5 Live: “She was such a colourful character on and off set - very different but very alike in so many ways.

“To meet her in person, she shone brighter than even Deirdre did.”

He recalled his first days on the show, saying the veteran actress had spotted he was nervous and thrown her arms around him with the reassuring words: “It’s alright kid, we’ll look after you.”

Ian added: “It could have been a scene in the Rovers. She oozed Coronation Street.”

North Wales actor Bruce Jones, who played Les Battersby in the soap from 1997 to 2007, said he “broke down” when he learnt of the death of the actress, who played Deirdre Barlow for 42 years.

Bruce Jones
Bruce Jones
 

She died aged 60 following a short illness.

Bruce, who lives in Conwy, paid tribute to Anne’s warmth and professionalism.

He said: “I went out for a quiet drink last night and I was watching the TV and saw it.

“I broke down. I had to go home. I couldn’t take it in.

“It came out of the blue. She had fought off cancer many years ago and she did well to get that beaten.

“All I’d heard recently was that she had to go to hospital for a couple of days, and that was it. She died.

“I just can’t believe it. It’s going to be hard to watch it again without her. We’re going to be waiting for that husky laugh and it won’t come.

“I’ve heard that they are cancelling a day of filming, which I’m glad about.”

Deirdre Barlow and husband Ken had a "holiday from hell" in North Wales in an episode of the soap in August.

Bruce met Anne on the set of Coronation Street in the 1990s, and the pair shared many scenes.

He said: “People call me an icon. I’m not. But she was an icon.

“Les would often get a rollicking off her, but Anne was a wonderful, unbelievable person. If you’d had a long day and were tired, she would bring you up again.

“She was a private person but very level-headed. Fame never got anywhere near her. We both enjoyed our jobs but did not like what came with them.“

Bruce recalled that on one occasion Anne and actress Bev Callard delivered lines so naturally that he chipped in as he passed them, only to find out that they were in a live shot.

“They burst out laughing,” he said.

“I thought they were having a real conversation - that’s how good she was.”

Bruce said Anne would film the soap’s cast and crew with her camcorder between takes.

“She must have had a hell of an archive of the famous actors down the years,” he said.