Coronation Street actor William Roache has said he has “no intention of retiring” as he prepares to celebrate his 90th birthday.
he actor, who turns 90 on April 25, has starred as Ken Barlow on the ITV soap for more than 60 years and holds a Guinness World Record for longest running TV soap star.
The documentary Happy Birthday Bill, which was commissioned by ITV to celebrate his life and career to mark his milestone birthday, will air on Tuesday at 8pm.
The actor said: “People will say when do you retire? are you taking a break But what happens then?
“Although I can do it and they will have me, I have no intention of retiring. I’m so lucky to work for an organization that’s lucky to have me.”
It was announced in December last year that the actor had been inducted into the Queen’s New Year Honors List for his services to theater and charity.
Happy Birthday Bill will also provide a glimpse into Roache’s off-screen life with his family and explore his life before the cobbles, returning to army barracks where he received his basic training as part of the program.
Although he has a reputation for being boring, Roaches’ character has been involved in a series of explosive storylines since his debut in the first episode of the ITV soap opera in 1960.
After spending more than six decades on the cobblestones, Ken has had a variety of relationships on the show, including marriages to Valerie Tatlock, Janet Reid and Deirdre Langton.
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His 42-year-old screen wife Deirdre was played by Anne Kirkbride, who died in January 2015 at the age of 60 from a diagnosis of breast cancer and a stroke.
On the show, Ken was planning a 60th birthday for her when he was devastated by the news of her death.
In 2016, Ken was about to go on vacation when he had an argument with his son Peter, played by Chris Gascoyne, and collapsed and suffered a stroke.
Happy Birthday Bill also reunites him with actress Anne Reid, who played Ken’s first wife Valerie, who died in the soap after her hair dryer was electrocuted.
He said: “She played my wife on Coronation Street for eight years and I was very sad when she decided to leave.
“When Valerie died she was due to meet Ken at the Rovers and when she finally walked through the door 52 years later it was a beautiful moment, we both just started laughing.
“It was nice to see her again, she doesn’t look any different to me.
When asked about his secret to success and still working at 90, he said: “I think I always feel like I’m learning.
“You know, people ask me if the younger ones ask me for advice and I say no, they’re all so good and confident that I feel like I should ask them.
“I always feel like I’m still growing up. I never feel grown up in life anyway. And then I always have something to learn.
“It’s so good to work with the likes of Chris Gascoyne and so many other members of the cast. It’s such a privilege.”
The voiceover for the documentary was done by Sir Ian McKellen, with the Lord of the Rings actor starring in the soap for 10 episodes in 2005 as the author of the steamy bodice ripper Hard Grinding.
Roache said the aging process is “just experiencing things as you move on. Doesn’t necessarily mean worsening. That’s the sad thing, the collective consciousness of humanity says that you turn 70 and towards the end you start to deteriorate.”
He added: “If you really think you’re getting worse, then you’re going to get worse. But you don’t have to believe that belief. People say ‘Oh, I’m a bit old for that’.
“Nonsense, if you want to do something, it shouldn’t matter how old you are. Appreciate your time as you get older. Enjoyment is the key. If you enjoy something, keep going.”
Happy Birthday Bill airs on ITV and ITV Hub on April 19 at 8pm, while Coronation Street airs in the same timeslot on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/corrie-star-william-roache-turns-90-but-has-no-intention-of-retiring-41564135.html Corrie star William Roache turns 90 but ‘has no intention of retiring’