It has been an important week for the soap opera Coronation Street. On Monday evening, we heard that Anne Kirkbride, who played Deirdre Barlow, had died after a short illness.
The same evening, they screened a heavy episode of Corrie in which several members of the cast were involved in a mini-bus crash.
After watching the soap for the first 10 years or so in the 1960s, I abandoned it on the grounds that I had better things to do than watch soaps. But over the last year, watching sporadic episodes with my mother, I have made the gradual slide into being a regular viewer.
I was very moved by the touching tributes to the actress Anne Kirkbride – she came over as a sweet person. She died aged 60, and 42 of those years were spent playing Dierdre. She met her real life husband David Beckett on the set. She was a Geminian Sunsign, but had Jupiter, Uranus and Mercury in the soap sign of Cancer. When she joined the cast of Coronation Street, Jupiter was transiting her natal Mars (an opportunity) and sextile her natal Saturn (the offer of a steady job). Her karma (North Node) was to be indelibly linked with the soap, with her South Node conjunct the Coronation Street Mars and Saturn. Pluto was conjunct her natal North Node when she died. At her death, Saturn was exactly transiting the Mercury of the Coronation Street chart: sad news for the cast.
In this morning’s Observer Barbara Ellen paints a sharply drawn word-portrait of Anne as Dierdre:
“Behind those huge glasses, gargling-with-wet-tarmac voice, and what must have been the most expressive neck tendons in show business, lurked a charming and gifted performer…”
Coronation Street began on 9th December 1960, as every good Media student will have etched in their mind. The chart has Mercury sextile Venus, and has been praised for the quality of its scriptwriting over the years. Jupiter exactly trines its Pluto, which may be part of its powerful success in drama and comedy. Pluto conjuncts its North Node, Jupiter trines its North Node, and Neptune bisects the trine forming sextiles with both. That all contributes to a winning formula. The mini-bus crash was designed to bring out new storylines, in the stories of suffering and recovery that ensue. The chart of the crash is also the chart of Anne’s death, and so the Saturn transit to Mercury in this case shows a bad trip. Curiously, the actor who played the mini-bus driver, Simon Gregson, whose character Steve McDonald has been suffering from depression, had Uranus opposite his natal Mars this week, which speaks of a motor accident. The episode will have been filmed weeks ago, yet it registers in his chart for the time of filming. On some level the actor will have been registering shock this week, some of it possibly in connection with the death of Anne Kirkbride and the stormy week for Coronation Street coverage.
It has been said that the relationship between Dierdre and her on screen husband Ken Barlow, played by William Roache, has been a cornerstone of the soap for decades. William Roache is the longest-serving cast member of Coronation Street, and starred in fact in the first episode. So the chart of Coronation Street, and the chart of his job, or career, are the same chart. I am fascinated by how actors’ charts often reflect their on screen personae, especially where they have been typecast for life! So it is that William Roache has Mercury exactly trine Jupiter, which describes his erudite image as Ken Barlow. In real life, he is a student of metaphysicas (Jupiter), having been a follower of the late Dr. Douglas Baker (interpreter of the teachings of Alice Bailey). He is a patriarch of the soap however, and this is reflected in his chart with a strong Saturnian emphasis (Saturn at the Midheaven, square to his Sun). His autobiography “Soul on the Street” has a strongly spiritualist content, and what came over to me in reading it was an adherence to rules and discipline which is very Capricornian. He has a healing sextile between Pluto and Chiron in his chart, and has promoted spiritual healing (“Circle of Love”). In 2013 he was investigated for an offence of rape, as Neptune opposed his Neptune. Anne Kirkbride testified on his behalf, and he was acquitted. He returned to the soap a month before Anne Kirkbride left “for personal reasons”. After “a short illness” she died, and William Roache was reported to have been present at Anne’s bedside at the time
The morning after Anne died, the cast met for work but it became clear that a normal working day was impossible, and they abandoned filming.
On Wednesday evening, the National TV Awards took place, and Coronation Street’s arch rival Eastenders took the trophy for Best Soap. With Saturn still sitting on the Coronation Street Mercury, but exactly sextile the Eastenders Jupiter by transit, Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale of Eastenders) held aloft the trophy and dedicated it to the “Weatherfield One”, a reference to one of Anne Kirkbride’s storylines which had gripped the nation, when she witnessed a nationwide campaign to free her character from jail.
On Friday, Barbara Knox who plays Rita Tanner in Corrie, was banned from driving after admitting a charge of drink driving, in a saga which had been running since March 2014. Like Anne Kirkbride, she became a regular cast member in 1972, so is another veteran. Barbara has Mars in Scorpio, and with her trade mark red haired image, possible has her Ascendant roundabout that point in her chart. She is still sporting the red hair at the age of 81. Barbara has the Moon conjunct her North Node, which may symbolize the association with the soap, and has Sun conjunct Jupiter in Libra, giving her a tendency to take chances in life. One such chance was hiring a “loophole lawyer” when she initially denied drink driving, but this week seems to have been fateful for her, as transiting Saturn opposes her Chiron. The original driving offence took place when Mars was opposite her natal Uranus (a driving mishap).
Let us hope there are more peaceful waters coming up for this soap. I used to say it was a waste of my emotional energy to watch it, and how much of the nation’s emotional energy is tied up with our national TV soaps, I wonder? I would like a soap called “Nirvana”, but that is not likely to happen.
On Tuesday (27th) Venus enters Pisces. We switch from a heart centred in social ideology to a heart centred in compassion. It may be easier for stressed nurses to exercise the compassion which led them into nursing in the first place, but will it be easier for the politicians to find it in their hearts to release more money into the NHS?
With the good news that Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey has been released from hospital and recovering, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been quoted as saying:
“Her selflessness and courage are remarkable and she represents the very best of NHS values”.
At last some credit from our government! She and William Pooley, another British nurse who recovered after contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone, are among those saints who have volunteered to do that work. It would have been unthinkable to lose either of them, so that is wonderful news this week.
Wednesday (28th) brings a sextile between Mercury and Uranus. With Mercury retrograding, we revisit an aspect from 2 weeks ago on Wednesday 14th:
“This may produce dynamic information, for instance on the health front. Ideas may come out of the blue. Look out for the left field on Wednesday – it could be a fruitful departure.”
There will be a realistic appraisal of some sort, which works for many, but for some it will be information overload, especially if Uranus is at an awkward angle in your chart. Some people attribute computer problems to Mercury retrograde which may be down to Uranian activity (the two are very intertwined), but today should upgrade and harmonize both communication (Mercury) and technology (Uranus). So if you have the Mercury retrograde blues, they may be to some extent alleviated on Wednesday.
Much of the week’s aspect action takes place on Friday (30th) starting at breakfast with Venus square Saturn. A packet of cereal may be past its sell by date, or an aspect of a relationship may be past its sell by date. You may have to let go of something, or cut your losses.
Fortunately, late lunchtime, we have the prospect of two much more constructive aspects, within 5 minutes of each other. At 13.40 hrs (U.K. time) Mars sextiles Pluto, enabling energies to flow freely and with gusto!
At 13.45 the Sun conjuncts Mercury at 10 degrees Aquarius. It’s a clear day and you can see forever. Friendships and groups flourish, and benefit from focussed thought. If it is your birthday, expect to have to let go of something old, and let in something new.
Mars conjuncts Chiron on Saturday (31st) at 14 degrees Pisces, and the energetic shifts of Friday could culminate in a healing shift on Saturday. You may feel that the wound is raw or exposed, but allow the natural healing process to take place.
The week in bullet points:
- Tuesday – Compassion
- Wednesday – sparkling mentality
- Friday – some sadness, fast action and focused thought
- Saturday – a healing focus