William Patrick "Bill" Roache MBE (born 25 April 1932) is an
English actor. He has played
Ken Barlow in the soap opera Coronation
Street since its first episode on 9 December 1960. He is listed in the
Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records as the longest-serving male television star in
a continuous role.
1 Early life
3 Personal life
4 Arrest, trial and acquittal
8 External links
Roache was born in Basford, Nottinghamshire, the son of Hester Vera
(née Waddicor) and Joseph William Vincent Roache. He grew up in
nearby Ilkeston, Derbyshire, where he attended a Steiner school set up
by his grandfather in the garden of the family home. His Freemason
grandfather was interested in such things as hypnotism, theosophy,
spiritualism, homoeopathy and esotericism, and the teachings of
philosopher and educationalist Rudolf Steiner. Roache was later
educated at Rydal School which his son Linus also attended.
Roache joined the British Army, and was commissioned into the Royal
Welsh Fusiliers in 1953. A year later, he was promoted to the rank of
lieutenant. He left the
British Army in 1956 with the rank of captain.
Due to an exploding mortar round during his military service, Roache
suffers from tinnitus.
After leaving the army, Roache turned to acting. He appeared in
various stage productions, then had uncredited roles in several films,
and later small parts in television serials including Knight Errant
Limited and Skyport. He played the minor role of a space centre
operator in the
Norman Wisdom film The Bulldog Breed.
Shortly before joining
Coronation Street at the beginning of the
programme in 1960, Roache played the leading role in a Granada
Television play called Marking Time, transmitted on ITV in 1961. In an
interview with the
Liverpool Post newspaper in 2007, Roache recalled
"I played a young soldier in Germany who fraternised with a German
girl, although I can't remember now how it ended. It was highly
prestigious, though, and I have tried to hunt it down but there is no
trace of it."  He added: "But Tony Warren, who created Coronation
Street, saw it and thought I was right for Ken Barlow."
Roache is now the world's longest-serving television actor in a
continuous role (as of March 2018) after the cancellation of the
American soap opera in 2010 As the World Turns, where Don Hastings
played Bob Hughes since October 1960 without a break.
On 16 October 1985 just weeks before the 25th anniversary of his debut
on Coronation Street, he appeared as the special guest on the TV show
This Is Your Life. With the departure of
Pat Phoenix the previous
year, he was the show's last remaining original cast member by this
In 1999 Roache was the recipient of the
British Soap Awards Lifetime
Achievement Award for his role as Ken Barlow. In 2003, Roache appeared
Stars in Their Eyes
Stars in Their Eyes as
Perry Como singing the song "Catch
a Falling Star". In September and October 2005 he appeared as a
celebrity contestant in Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon. He was the
The Golden Shot remake, progressing through to Bullseye
where he was beaten by television presenter Vernon Kay. He later
entered All Star Family Fortunes, hosted by Kay, but lost by two
points to his competitors.
Roache's 2008 autobiography is entitled Soul on the Street. It focuses
on many of his life experiences and contains a significant amount of
philosophical content in which Roache affirms his belief in the
afterlife. In October 2008 Roache revealed on
BBC Breakfast that he
had a two-year feud with fellow
Coronation Street actress Pat Phoenix,
during which they did not speak to each other, stemming from her
changing a scene involving the two of them. However, they did
reconcile and became good friends. On 13 April 2012 Piers Morgan
interviewed Roache for his ITV series Piers Morgan's Life Stories. On
26 September 2012 Roache was featured on the
BBC series Who Do You
Think You Are?, researching his family history. He is currently
Coronation Street's longest serving actor, having been on the show
from day 1.
Roache lives in Wilmslow, Cheshire. His eldest son, by his first
Anna Cropper (1938–2007), is actor
Linus Roache (born 1964).
The couple also had a daughter, Vanya (1967-2018). The couple were
married from 1961 until their divorce in 1974. Roache married his
second wife, Sarah Mottram, in 1978. She died suddenly on 7 February
2009 at their home at the age of 58. With Sarah, he had a
daughter named Verity (born 1981) and a younger son, the actor James
Roache, christened William (born 1985). A second daughter, Edwina,
died aged 18 months after her birth on 26 April 1983 from acute
bronchial pneumonia on 16 November 1984. His daughter Vanya died
on 2 March 2018, aged 50.
In 1991, Roache won a libel action against The Sun, which had
described him as boring and unpopular with his fellow Coronation
Street stars. He was awarded £50,000 damages by the jury, the same
amount that he had turned down in an out-of-court settlement offered
by the newspaper before the case. As a result he was liable for the
£120,000 costs incurred. Roache sued his law firm for negligence in
1998, and was declared bankrupt in April 1999.
Roache is a supporter of the Conservative Party. In 2007, as a guest
for Daily Politics, he championed Sir
John Major as Britain's greatest
post-war prime minister. He backed disgraced ex-Conservative MP
Neil Hamilton in the 1997 election against Martin Bell. Roache
became patron of the Ilkeston-based production company Sustained Magic
Ltd in 2006.
Roache is a vegetarian because he "doesn't want animals being killed
for him". He wrote about his interest in astrology in his
biography, which he learned by taking a correspondence course from the
Faculty of Astrological Studies. He said he had impressed members of
Coronation Street cast by the accuracy with which he read their
astrological charts for them.
Arrest, trial and acquittal
On 1 May 2013, Roache was arrested by
Lancashire Police on suspicion
of having raped a 15-year-old girl in 1967, an allegation he
strenuously denied. The Crown Prosecution Service
subsequently announced that he was to be charged with two counts of
rape. There was a preliminary hearing in a Magistrates' court on
14 May 2013 and a
Crown Court hearing took place on 10 June
2013. On 6 June 2013, Roache was charged with a further five
counts of indecent assault against girls aged between 12 and
Roache appeared at Preston
Crown Court on 2 September and pleaded not
guilty to all charges. The full trial started on 14 January 2014 at
Preston Crown Court, before Judge Anthony Russell QC. During the
trial, one charge was dismissed outright by the judge citing a lack of
evidence and significant flaws emerged in two witnesses' accounts in
relation to the other charges. On 6 February 2014, Roache was
found not guilty on all charges. Following his acquittal,
Roache gave a brief statement saying that there had been "no winners"
and expressing his intent to "get back to work".
An image of
Ken Barlow had been removed from the Madame Tussauds
waxwork exhibition in
Blackpool due to fears it might be
vandalised. The waxwork was returned to the exhibition in February
2014 following Roache's acquittal.
Roache resumed filming on
Coronation Street in June 2014, and returned
to the screen on 4 August of that year.
Roache was awarded an MBE in the 2001 New Years Honours. In
March 2007 he was awarded the
Honorary degree of
Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Letters by
University of Chester
University of Chester in recognition of his contribution to
1958 – Behind the Mask – Uncredited
Coronation Street – Ken Barlow
The Bulldog Breed
The Bulldog Breed – Space Centre operator
1960 – Knight Errant Limited – David – Episode: "Eve and the
2005 – Comic Relief: Red Nose Night Live 2005 – Harry
2012 – Ken and Deirdre's Bedtime Stories – Ken Barlow
2017 – Missing Crown Jewels – Himself
Coronation Street star Bill Roache on rape charge: Actor, 81,
accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl FORTY-SIX years
ago". Retrieved 22 February 2017.
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Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 May 2013. CS1 maint: Multiple names:
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BBC News. 6 February 2014.
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Tinnitus sufferers 'feel let down'
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^ But Tony Warren, who created Coronation Street, saw it and thought I
was right for Ken Barlow."
Don Hastings CBS Biography". cbs.com. 2007. Retrieved 21 January
^ "This Is Your Life (1969–1993)". Eofftv.com. Archived from the
original on 22 April 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
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Bbc.co.uk. 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
^ a b "
Coronation Street actor Bill Roache arrested on suspicion of
historic sex assault". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 1 May
^ "Street actor Roache's wife dies".
BBC News. 8 February 2009.
Retrieved 7 March 2009.
^ Petty, Moira (6 March 2009). "I'm so lost without Sara". London, UK:
Mail. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
^ "Bill Roache trial jury retires to consider its verdicts". Retrieved
22 February 2017.
^ Gibbons, Fiachra (14 April 1999). "Bankrupt... but by no means
boring". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
^ "`Coronation Street' star
William Roache sues over libel bill".
London, UK: The Independent. 10 March 1998. Retrieved 7 February
^ "Your Favourite Prime Minister".
BBC News. 13 June 2007.
^ "Talking Politics: Springing to Neil Hamilton's defence".
19 October 1998. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
^ "Bill Roache: His strange life and times". Daily Telegraph. London,
UK. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
^ "About Us". Sustained Magic. Archived from the original on 13
February 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
^ ITV 1, Loose Women, 1 February 2012, 12:30 (GMT), guest-starring
William Roache. Roache: "I'm vegetarian because I don't want animals
being killed for me."
^ William Roach, Soul on the Street, pp.165–168. (Hay House, Inc,
2008) ISBN 9781848500150.
^ Williams, Rob (1 May 2013). "
Coronation Street star Bill Roache
strenuously denies allegations he raped underage girl in 1967".
Independent. London. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
Coronation Street star
William Roache denies rape".
BBC News. 2 May
2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
Coronation Street star
William Roache to face rape charges". BBC
News. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
^ Halliday, Josh (1 May 2013). "Coronation Street's Bill Roache
charged with rape of 15-year-old in 1967". Guardian. London.
^ "Coronation Street's
William Roache appears in court on rape
charge". 14 May 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2017 – via
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Actor Faces More Charges". Sky News. Retrieved
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^ "Roache charged with indecent assault".
BBC News. 6 June 2013.
Retrieved 6 June 2013.
^ "Coronation Street's
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^ a b c "
William Roache found not guilty of rape and indecent
BBC News. BBC. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February
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rape and assault charges". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 6
Madame Tussauds removes
Ken Barlow waxwork".
BBC News. 12
May 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
William Roache waxwork is back on display at Madame Tussauds".
Nottingham Post. 18 February 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
William Roache to resume
Coronation Street role".
BBC News. 21 May
^ "UK Olympic heroes lead honours list".
BBC News. 2000-12-30.
^ Cooper, Lorna. "William Roache, MBE - William Roache: Coronation
Ken Barlow turns 80". Tv.uk.msn.com. Retrieved
^ "Honorary Graduates 2007". Alumni.chester.ac.uk. Retrieved
William Roache on IMDb