Our favourite TV shows take us on a rollercoaster of emotions – from shock, to joy, to tears and everything in between. Their characters become a part of our lives – sometimes to the point that they begin to feel like family. It’s upsetting when one of these much-loved personas die, and their final farewell can stay with you for some time.
As with any funeral, the most memorable reflect the wishes and personality of the deceased. Here are some of the most famous TV funerals:
Eastenders has provided us with numerous funerals over the years, but none was more heart-wrenching than the long-time resident Ethel Skinner. Her final scenes – which comprise a whole episode – and her funeral were a real tear-jerker. Peggy Mitchell’s funeral was a typical Eastend affair complete with a horse-drawn carriage traversing the infamous square, family feuds (and the return of a few familiar faces) and in true Peggy style, a knees-up at the Old Vic.
Coronation Street has also had its fair share of funerals, with that of long-running character Deirdre Barlow among the most famous. Actress Anne Kirkbride passed away shortly before Deirdre, and the funeral – full of tension, emotion and real tears – acted as a tribute to a much-loved colleague and character.
Similarly, Uncle Albert’s funeral serves as a tribute to Only Fools and Horses actors Buster Merryfield and Kenneth MacDonald (pub landlord Mike). Albert passed away just after Del Boy and Rodney lose their fortune; the brothers unwittingly attend the wrong funeral and a scuffle ensues. The elder Trotter defends his uncle but feels guilty about mocking his war stories.
Doctor Who fans are used to the famous Time Lord changing identity, but the death of the Eleventh Doctor, AKA Matt Smith, was a particularly weepy one. He was given a Viking funeral since his body was too precious to be left lying around after being shot at Lake Silencio.
We all hoped Desperate Housewives’ Mike Delfino and wife Susan Mayer would live happily ever after, but it wasn’t to be. Shortly after discussing funeral plans with Susan, who kept brushing it aside, Mike is murdered. His funeral sees each of the main characters reminisce while struggling to come to terms with his death.
The importance of sharing your final wishes is demonstrated in Grey’s Anatomy at the funeral of George O’Malley. Colleagues Izzy, Meredith, Alex and Christina discuss how the funeral didn’t reflect George as a person and how wrong it was. It set the tone for how other funerals were handled on the show, and made a statement on the evolving nature of funerals today.
This sentiment was carried over into the show’s spin-off Private Practice; Pete Wilder didn’t want a traditional funeral full of crying mourners – he wanted people to party. So his wife, Violet, threw him a huge bash as per the instructions in his will.
TV funerals, just like those in real life, give us the opportunity to mourn a much-loved person who has impacted our lives; the most famous being those that reflect the individual.