William Roache, best known for his role as Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, will turn 90 next week but states that he has “no intention of retiring”. The actor has played Ken since Corrie began more than 60 years ago and he is listed in the Guinness World Records as the longest-serving TV star.
An ITV documentary, Happy Birthday Bill, will air on Tuesday to celebrate his monumental birthday and take a look at his long-lasting career.
The programme will also see Bill reveal his secret to still being able to work at his age.
He explained: “I suppose I always feel like I’m learning… I always feel I’m still growing up. I never feel grown up in life anyway. And then I’ve always got things to learn.”
The OBE winner added that he believes the ageing process “doesn’t necessarily mean deterioration,” despite an attitude that says “you live to 70 and start to deteriorate towards the end”.
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Sharing his mantra with ITV, Bill concluded: “If you genuinely believe that you’re deteriorating then you will deteriorate. But you don’t have to buy into that belief.
“People say ‘Oh, I’m a bit old for that’. Nonsense if you want to do something, it shouldn’t matter what age you are. Value your time as you get older. Enjoyment is the key. If you enjoy doing something, keep doing it.”
The documentary will also see Bill reunite with his first on-screen wife, Anne Reid, who played Valerie on the soap.
Valerie was Ken’s first wife but died in 1971 when she was electrocuted by a hairdryer.
She was the mother of Bill’s three younger children, Verity, 41, James, 35, and Edwina, the latter of whom died aged 18 months from pneumonia in 1984.
Bill and Sara were happily married until her death from a heart condition in 2009, aged just 58.
The veteran actor worried soap fans last year when he was forced to take time away from the cobbles while he battled Covid.
He was written out of the show for several months while he recovered and Coronation Street bosses were limiting the amount of time the older actors spent on set as a safety precaution.
Thankfully, he made a full recovery and has insisted that viewers haven’t seen the back of him yet.
Speaking at the show’s 60th anniversary in 2020, he said: ”While I can do it and they want me, I will be there.
“Retirement is not on the radar at all. I have no plans for that.
“I don’t even like to think about how they’d write Ken out if I did leave. Because hopefully that is never going to happen.”
Happy Birthday Bill airs Tuesday at 8pm on ITV.