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ITV to celebrate Corrie star William Roache’s 90th birthday with new documentary

William Roache will turn 90 on April 25 (Matt Crossick/PA)
William Roache will turn 90 on April 25 (Matt Crossick/PA)

A documentary has been commissioned to celebrate Coronation Street star William Roache’s 90th birthday, ITV has announced.

Roache, who will turn 90 on April 25, has starred as Ken Barlow in the ITV soap for more than 60 years, making him the current Guinness World Record holder for the longest-running TV soap star.

The documentary, Happy Birthday Bill, will celebrate Roache’s life and career by looking back on his legacy and achievements as he reaches his 90th birthday.

Ken Barlow
Roache has played Ken Barlow in Coronation Street for more than 60 years (ITV/PA)

With special appearances from past and present Coronation Street cast members, as well as Roache’s own family, the documentary will look back on the moments and the people that have helped shape both Roache and Ken Barlow.

Roache said: “I don’t feel nearly 90 at all. The Coronation Street cast are like a second family to me and I can’t quite believe I’ve been lucky enough to play Ken Barlow for over 60 years.

“It’s also been lovely revisiting past memories and remembering all the wonderful things I have seen and done over the years.

“I hope the viewers enjoy watching the documentary as much as I did making it.”

During the documentary viewers will catch a glimpse of Roache’s life off set at home with his family, as well as his experiences behind the scenes on the show he has called home since it began in December 1960.

The programme will also provide an insight into Roache’s life before Coronation Street as he returns to his old army barracks in which he served before making a move into acting.

Coronation Street brawl
Ken and Deirdre Barlow were at the centre of a number of dramatic storylines (Neil Marland/ITV/PA)

During his time on the cobbles, Roache’s character Ken developed a reputation as something of a ladies’ man, marrying four times to three women.

Ken was involved in a number of dramatic storylines with his third on-screen wife Deirdre Barlow, played by Anne Kirkbride, who featured on the show between 1972 and 2014. Kirkbride died in January 2015.

One of the most memorable moments made newspaper headlines in Britain in 1983 after it was revealed that Deirdre was having an affair with Mike Baldwin, played by Johnny Briggs.

The storyline captured the interest of both the media and viewers, with 20 million people tuning in to watch Ken’s discovery of the affair.

Roache was awarded an MBE in the 2001 New Year Honours and an OBE in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to drama and charity.

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