Coronation Street’s Bill Roache sees anniversary as world’s longest-serving soap

Coronation Street’s Bill Roache sees anniversary as world’s longest-serving soap

December 9, 2023

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William “Bill” Roache, 91, has played soap favourite Ken Barlow on Coronation Street since it first aired in 1960. He is the world’s longest-serving soap star.

As of this year, he has held the Guinness World Record for the longest-serving actor in a television soap, and it doesn’t seem like he has any plans to leave the cobbles behind just yet.

The legendary actor is like a beloved member of the family for fans of the soap who have seen him become one of the most recognisable household names. On December 9, Coronation Street marks its 63rd year on screens, and not many can say they are still in the soap after being in the show’s debut episode. has taken a look back at William’s life as he ticks off another year on the popular soap. Bill has previously explained Coronation Street creator Tony Warren saw him in the leading role of a TV play called Marking Time and believed he’d be perfect for the role of Ken of the brand new ITV programme he was planning.

READ MORE Corrie’s Bill Roache admits he ‘couldn’t breathe’ during skydive at age 91

The character has become as iconic as Bill and soap fan or not, most people know the name Ken Barlow.

Ken remains best known for his turbulent relationship with his wife Deirdre Barlow (Anne Kirkbride).

The nation was gripped by the pair’s on-again/off-again romance and their 1981 wedding reportedly drew in more viewers than that of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

The soap couple also got married once again in 2005.

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Despite his huge achievement which has earned him a Guinness World Record, Bill has no plans to quit his iconic role.

Speaking on ITV’s Loose Women in 2022, he addressed his future plans.

“We are ageing, and the problem with ageing, the collective concise says, the minute you get 60, ‘Here’s the chair, sit down, are you going to retire? Are you taking it easy?’ and down you go.

He went on: “No, you keep doing what you enjoy doing right to the end. I am still acting, and I am still doing it.”

Speaking about his age, he even stated: “It’s not the number. It’s how you feel.

“I don’t feel 90. I started getting younger when I was 70, So I am about 50 now.”

Elsewhere in his personal life, reports flew back in 2012 that the actor had slept with 1,000 women.

In his 2018 book Life and Soul: How to Live a Long and Healthy Life, addressed the rumours. According to The Mirror, he wrote: “When Piers [Morgan] continued to press me for numbers and asked if it was 1,000 women, all I said was, ‘It could be. I don’t know.’

“Well, it went viral – ‘Bill Roache slept with 1,000 women’. And I’d never said I had, but I took it with good humour.”

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