Pendle actress Natalie Gumede last night paid tribute to her former Corrie colleague Anne Kirkbride as she joined some of Britain’s best-loved celebrities at the National Television Awards.
The former Strictly sensation, best known for her role as villain Kirsty Soames on the cobbles, expressed her shock at the death of Anne, who for 42 has captured the heart of the nation as the husky-voiced Deirdre Barlow. Anne died on Monday, aged 60, in a Manchester hospital.
Talking to ITV News before the star-studded ceremony at The O2 in London, Natalie (30) said: “I think it’s going to be a very poignant evening, it’s a great celebration tonight but obviously it’s tinged with a great deal of shock that we’re all feeling, as a nation and I’m sure the cast must be feeling it to a much greater extent.”
She had previously taken to Twitter to write: “A big character on and off set - a force of nature and a wonderful soul. So very sorry hear the news and big love to @itvcorrie #RIPAnnie.”
Natalie, who was nominated for the “Best Newcomer” NTA gong in 2013, was invited to the glittering event to present the award for Best Serial Drama Performance.
EastEnders actor Danny Dyer collected his trophy from the former Colne Park High School student, having beaten off competition from Kellie Bright (Linda Carter in EastEnders), Verity Rushworth (Donna Windsor in Emmerdale) and Nikki Sanderson (Maxine Minniver in Hollyoaks).
Posting to her 90,000 followers on Twitter this morning, Burnley-born Natalie, who has appeared in Doctor Who and Death In Paradise, said: “What a night! Had great fun presenting an award @OfficialNTAs (scary though it was!) Congrats to all the winners!”