Coronation Street’s William Roache almost quit Ken Barlow role for career in Westerns

Katie Archer

Katie Archer

·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK

Sun, 22 May 2022, 10:24 am

William Roache as Ken Barlow in Coronation Street
William Roache has played Ken Barlow in Coronation Street since the first ever episode. (ITV)

Coronation Street veteran William Roache is soap’s longest-serving star, having played Ken Barlow since its first episode in 1960 – but his career could have been very different if he’d followed his dreams of becoming a Western star.

The 90-year-old actor admitted he’d originally wanted to make a Hollywood career for himself that could have seen him become a big screen star like Clint Eastwood.

However, the job he chose to stick with has arguably seen no less drama than a Western after decades of betrayals, deaths and rivalries on the cobbles.

Roache told the Sunday People: “When I started out I wanted to be in films, particularly I wanted to be in Westerns.

William Roache as Ken Barlow in Coronation Street
William Roache says he’s loved his career on the cobbles. (ITV)

“There was a time in the middle of my career, when I was in my 40s, I thought if ever I’m going to get out and do something else, now is the time. But I only thought about it. I never actually did it. I realised I’m really proud of Coronation Street, lucky to be in it.”

The star called his career on the ITV soap “absolutely brilliant” getting big storylines every year and admitted he “didn’t do anything about” ideas for a change in roles to play.

He also said that he had enjoyed growing older with the role of Ken, saying it was very different from playing the same part in a theatre every night as his character was also changing with him.

Roache credited the soap with keeping him young, saying: “I would say being in Coronation Street has been like being in a gym mentally, mental exercise, and good company. It’s enhanced me rather than being demanding of me.”

William Roache
William Roache celebrated his 90th birthday in April. (PA)

In April, Roache turned 90 and said that despite his milestone birthday, he had no intention of retiring.

He said in an ITV documentary about his career: “People will say when are you retiring? Are you going to take a break? But then what happens?

“Whilst I can do it, and whilst they will have me, I have no intention of retiring. I am so fortunate to work for an organisation that is happy to have me.”

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