Jack Duckworth is dead and with him has died yet another link to my childhood.
I clearly recall my grandmother eased back into her favourite lounge chair chuckling away at the banter between Jack and his onscreen wife Vera.
Those were the days when the theme tune to Coronation St signalled a compulsory half hour's silence in my grandparent's home during my school holiday stays.
Grandfather and I generally retreated to the kitchen to do the dinner dishes - working slowly and carefully to avoid any undue noise that might cause an unfavourable reaction from the nearby lounge where any disruption could have dire consequences.
How I hated that show - the absolute epitome of boredom to every Kiwi kid forced to endure it, if memory serves correctly, from Monday to Friday through parts of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
How I loathed the mere sight of Ena Sharples and her crusty old cronies - unaware, as I was at that tender age, of the dry wit behind the lines they rattled off through gritted teeth across pints at the Rover's Return.
The humour was lost on me and I therefore failed to understand the appeal it had for dear old Nana.
So who would think I too would become a fan a decade or so later, glued to each episode and sharing that interest during her last years of life.
Indeed I truly knew the end was nigh when, well into the final stages of a terminal illness, she asked me to leave the TV switched off one night.
It was never turned on again - the final curtain had fallen on her beloved Corrie St and death was just a week or so away.
The show has therefore become a part of my family culture and heritage.
It evokes memories of people, places and events - both real and fictitious, related and onscreen - that make up a part of me.
I have met like-minded people in every office I've worked in - folk of all shapes, sizes, ages and ethnic backgrounds who can't wait for their regular fix of the ITV's longest running soap.
They gather in quiet corners to discuss the TV events of the night before - sharing a few laughs along the way, bemoaning the latest direction taken by story writers and occasionally swearing to quit the habit altogether.
But always they return - like 12 steppers in desperate need of a group hug to get them through each new day.
Few, if any, ever go public with their addiction yet slowly their numbers grow as word spreads and others in the building realise they are not alone.
They, like me, will this week reflect on characters like the Duckworths who've helped keep us all tuned in to the Commonwealth phenomenon that is Coronation Street.
There's still a few older faces left but not many sport the same sort of pedigree and those that do just don't quite have the same appeal (Ken Barlow is a good example - anyone who disagrees needs to get out more often).
It will be interesting to see if, in its 50th year and beyond, the show is able to maintain such a strong fan base with its remaining cast.
I suspect it will and I think my grandmother would agree.
*Has Coronation Street got what it takes to last another 50 years? Let us know what you think below.
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