Coronation Street legend Bill Roache has joined the long list of celebrities making personalised videos for fans in return for a hefty fee.
The 88-year-old actor, who plays Ken Barlow in the long-running ITV soap, is flogging video messages and ” virtual hugs” for £35 each.
Speaking to the camera in an introductory video on Connect’s website, Bill, who is currently isolating at home in Cheshire, said: “People often come up to me and say ‘oh hello, will you say a quick word to my girlfriend’ or ‘wish my mother happy birthday’.
“And you know something, I always do it because I find it wonderful to be part of making somebody’s day…”
After giving instructions to fans about how to make a personal request, Bill added: ‘Hopefully, it will make somebody’s day. Let’s do it.”
An advert on Bill’s page offers “virtual hugs” from the actor, in exchange for money.
Other stars to use the online Connect platform include former glamour model Linda Lusardi, TOWIE icon Amy Childs and former I’m A Celeb contestant Dom Joly.
It comes after Bill revealed that Coronation Street’s older stars are likely to return to the famous cobbles by autumn.
Corrie has resumed filming after the lockdown was eased but only the younger and less vulnerable actors are involved in production at the moment.
Bill hopes he will be back on screen for the show’s 60th anniversary later this year.
Speaking to The Mirror, the actor said: “I’m looking forward to it. I don’t want to slow down. I want to speed up
“They have started filming again, but not for us oldies. But probably by the autumn they have said we could be back.”
He added: “I had no idea until they contacted me and they asked me if I wanted to go back and I said yes.
“Then I had to get a doctor’s report that he considers the protocols they have got are good, which he has done.”
It has been reported that older stars may still appear on the soap via video calls.
A source told The Sun: “Bosses know just how important these characters are to their millions of fans.
“And who wouldn’t love to see the likes of Ken, Evelyn and Roy taking part in a Zoom quiz night?
“Or Tracy calling her dad and telling him how much she misses him.
“There are good ways to do it and that’s what they’re looking into at the moment.”
Coronation Street airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on ITV at 7.30pm