Coronation Street’s Bill Roache reunites with former on-screen Anne Reid

ITV documentary Happy Birthday Bill celebrates Bill’s 90th birthday and sees Bill getting back together with Anne, who played his first wife Valerie shortly before her death

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Coronation Street: Anne Reid as Valerie Barlow in 1971

Bill Roache reunites with former movie star Anne Reid – more than 50 years after she left Corrie.

The new ITV documentary Happy Birthday Bill celebrates Bill’s 90th birthday, as well as his record on Cobbles.

And on the show, Bill, who plays Ken Barlow, will return to Anne, who played his first wife Valerie before she died untimely at the hands of a hair dryer. faulty.

When asked what the highlights of the new document were, Bill said: “Without a doubt seeing Anne Reid again after all these years. She played my wife in Coronation Street for eight years and I was saddened when she chose to leave.

“When Valerie passed away she met Ken at Rovers so when she walked through the final door 52 years later it was such a lovely moment we both just started laughing. It’s beautiful to see her again, to me she looks no different”.

Bill Roache and Anne Reid are reunited



Bill said that Anne admitted she even had a crush on him, when they starred together on the show.

He said: “She told me she used to dream about me and I laughed and said you don’t mean a nightmare right? And then she told me she had a crush on me, but she never told me at the time!

“She also gave me a silver trophy when she left which she had engraved with the words ‘We have to do it again’ so it’s great that we finally have that chance.”

His first wife Valerie was the mother of twins Peter and Susan. She died after being electrocuted while using a hair dryer in 1971.

Bill and Anne on soap 1970


Granada Television)

The death came as the pair were contemplating moving to Jamaica because Ken had secured a teaching job there. Nearly 19 million viewers watched her death.

Meanwhile, Ken stayed in Weatherfield and remarried three times and had a lot of girlfriends.

Earlier, speaking of her time on soap, Anne said: “I became a shopping cart when I left! I had too much of it. That kind of work is right for some people, but it’s not for me.

“It was my decision to leave and I was desperate, really desperate, to go. Because I knew I was a good comedian and there was no way Valerie Barlow would be funny.”

Ken Barlow and Valerie’s Big Day 1962


Granada TV)

It was while selling soap that Anne met her husband, Peter Eckersley, one of the producers. He died at age 45 of cancer in 1981, leaving Anne to raise their 9-year-old son Mark.

“Peter is special, funny, amazing. I have never met anyone since I admire so much or find funny or intelligent. But I am not a good wife. I have never been tamed. I installed an oven a few years ago but it was pristine because I never used it. ‘

Bill Roache and Anne Reid embrace in ITV documentary Happy Birthday Bill



After leaving Corrie, she had a stellar career playing Jean in the sitcom Dinnerladies and Celia Dawson in Last Tango in Halifax, for which she was nominated for a British Academy Television Award for Outstanding Lead Actress best. She has also starred in Doctor Who, Peak Practice and films such as Hot Fuzz.

Bill was married to first wife Anna Cropper from 1961 to 1974, and had a son Linus and daughter Vanya, who died in 2018 of kidney failure.

Sara, his second wife of over thirty years, died suddenly in February 2009. Bill and Sara had daughter Verity (born 1981) and son James (born 1985).

Their third child, Edwina, died in 1984 of acute bronchial pneumonia.

  • Happy Birthday Bill airs on ITV, at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Coronation Street airs at 8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Coronation Street's Bill Roache reunites with former on-screen Anne Reid

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