The 60-year-old actress, who starred in the ITV soap for 44 years, died on Monday in a Manchester hospital. She had been away from the screen since September.
The show’s executive producer, Kieran Roberts, said it was “almost unheard of” to take a break but explained it was the “right thing to do”, to allow her friends to grieve and remember.
Colleagues have paid tribute to the star who had been loved by millions for her portrayal of husky-voiced Deirdre, famed for many years for her oversized spectacles.
William Roache, who played one of her on-screen husbands, spoke warmly and at length today as he told of their many years together as colleagues.
He said: “Annie was a vibrant presence. When she was there you knew she was there. She was always loving, always happy — there was never a laugh far away.”
Roache, who played Ken Barlow — their nuptials attracted more than 24 million viewers in 1981 — said her colleagues had wanted to carry on with filming but it became apparent that they needed to stop.
Speaking from the set, he said: “Actually just walking in here now it’s very difficult because all of us wanted to carry on filming today —that’s a natural feel for Annie’s sake and all our sakes but when we came to it we couldn’t do it.”
Among those to pay tribute was Kate Ford, who plays her on-screen daughter, Tracy Barlow, in the long-running soap.
The actress tweeted: “Heartbroken at the loss of my friend and beautiful on screen mummy. The most crazy funny 100 per cent human. My life was enriched by her.”
Fellow Corrie veteran Beverley Callard, known for playing Rovers Return barmaid Liz McDonald, wrote: “My beautiful darling friend, Anne Kirkbride, passed away in a room filled with love. God Bless, my Darling Girl! Peace and rest!”