|William Roache, MBE|
|Born||William Patrick Roache
25 April 1932
Basford, Nottinghamshire, England
|Employer||ITV plc (formerly Granada plc)|
|Spouse(s)||Anna Cropper (m. 1961–74)(deceased) (divorced)
Sarah Mottram (m. 1978–2009)
|Partner(s)||Emma Jesson (2010–2012)|
|Children||Linus Roache (born 1964)
Vanya Roache (born 1967)
Verity Roache (born 1981)
Edwina Roache (deceased)
James Roache (born 1985)
|Awards||British Soap Awards:
Special Achievement Award, 1999
William Patrick Roache, MBE (born 25 April 1932) is an English actor, who has played Ken Barlow in the soap opera Coronation Street since its first episode on 9 December 1960. Roache is listed in Guinness World Records as the longest serving living actor in a continuous role, although Philip Lowrie returned to his role as Dennis Tanner after a 43-year absence.
In May 2013, Roache was arrested and charged with the rape of a 15-year old girl in 1967. In June 2013, he was additionally charged with five counts of indecent assault against girls aged between 12 and 16 between 1965 and 1968. Roache's character was written out of the soap whilst the investigation is ongoing. Roache has denied all charges against him and the case is pending.
Born in Basford, Nottinghamshire, Roache grew up in in nearby Ilkeston, Derbyshire, where for a time he attended a Steiner school set up by his grandfather in the garden of the family home. Roache's 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 the independent Rydal School in Colwyn Bay, North Wales.
In 1953, he was commissioned into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1954 and left the army three years later. Because of a mortar round explosion that he witnessed while on national service with the British Army during this time, Roache suffers from tinnitus.
After leaving the army, Roache turned to acting and was seen in minor roles in television serials like Knight Errant Limited and Skyport. He also had a small part in the film The Bulldog Breed, starring Norman Wisdom. 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."  The play undoubtedly made him though, because 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 September 2010 with the cancellation of the American soap opera As the World Turns, where Don Hastings played Bob Hughes since October 1960 without a break). If he remains in the role beyond December 2014, he will surpass American actress Helen Wagner's record (also for As the World Turns) for the actor portraying the same character over the longest time span (which will be shared with Philip Lowrie if Lowrie remains in the cast). 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 stage.
Roache's autobiography is called 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 1999, Roache was the recipient of the British Soap Awards Lifetime Achievement Award for his role as Ken Barlow. In 2003, Roache appeared on Celebrity 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 winner of 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.
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 didn't speak to each other. This was over her changing of a scene involving the two of them. However, they did reconcile and became good friends. In 2010, he made a guest appearance on Harry Hill's comedy album Funny Times on the song "Ken!" which is about his Coronation Street character. 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. On 7 March 2013, he appeared on the UK panel show Celebrity Juice.
Roache lives in Wilmslow, Cheshire. His eldest son, by his first wife Anna Cropper (1938–2007), is the actor Linus Roache (born 1964) and a daughter, Vanya (born 1967). The couple were married from 1961 until their divorce in 1974. Roache married Sara, his second wife, in 1978; she died suddenly on 7 February 2009 at their home at the age of 58. With Sara, he had a daughter named Verity (born 1981) and a younger son, the actor James Roache, christened William (born 1985). A second daughter, Edwina (born 1982), died aged 18 months from acute bronchial pneumonia in 1984. Roache was in a relationship with well-known TV weather presenter Emma Jesson between 2010 and 2012.
Roache is a strong supporter of the Conservative Party. He championed Sir John Major as Britain's greatest post-war prime minister for Daily Politics. He also supported the now disgraced ex-Conservative MP Neil Hamilton in the 1997 election against Martin Bell. This is in contrast with his character Ken, who holds strong socialist views in the style of a Labour voter. Roache became patron of the Ilkeston-based production company Sustained Magic Ltd in 2006. The company was formed to help encourage the arts development within Ilkeston and the East Midlands to help develop new actors.
William 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 the Coronation Street cast by the accuracy with which he read their astrological charts for them. Roache is a spiritualist and was photographed practising Druid rituals in the 1970s. He predicted that the world would go through a fundamental change on 12 December 2012 and "move to a higher vibration".
On 1 May 2013, Roache was arrested over an allegation that he raped a 15-year-old girl in 1967, which he denies. A representative of the Crown Prosecution Service in the North-West subsequently announced he was to be charged with two counts of rape. There was a preliminary hearing in a Magistrate's court on Tuesday 14 May 2013 and a Crown Court hearing took place on 10 June 2013. On 6 June 2013, Roache was additionally charged with five counts of indecent assault against girls aged between 12 and 16. The latest charges are of two indecent assaults in relation to a 14-year-old girl in 1965, one on a 16-year-old girl in 1965, one on a girl aged 13 or 14 in 1968 and one on a girl aged 11 or 12 in 1968.
Roache will not be appearing in any Coronation Street episodes while police investigate the charges. Ken Barlow has been written out off-screen - his onscreen wife Deidre revealed he was visiting his sick grandson in Canada. An image of Ken Barlow was removed from Madame Tussauds waxwork exhibition due to unacceptable behaviour by a few visitors and fears it might be damaged.
- 1958 – Behind the Mask – Uncredited
- 1960–present – Coronation Street – Ken Barlow
- 1960 – The Bulldog Breed – Space Centre operator
- 1960 – Knight Errant Limited – David – Episode: "Eve and the Serpent"
- 2005 – Comic Relief: Red Nose Night Live 2005 – Harry
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- "Coronation Street". The Museum of Broadcast Communications. 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2008.[dead link]
- Spiritual soap star William Roache to give talk in city Peterborough Today, 25 February 2006. Retrieved on 2008-06-07.
- [dead link]
- "Hearing Loss News and Reviews". Tinnitus sufferers 'feel let down' by NHS treatment. EveningTimes.co.uk. 13 September 2005.
- 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 2007.
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- "Coronation Street actor Bill Roache arrested on suspicion of historic sex assault". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- "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: Mail. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
- "William Roache". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- "Your Favourite Prime Minister". BBC News. 13 June 2007.
- "About Us". Sustained Magic. Archived from the original on 2009-02-13. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- ITV 1, Loose Women, 1 Feb 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.
- Jefferies, Mark (5 Sep 2012). ""Time is running out": Coronation Street Ken Barlow actor predicts world will "change dramatically" on December 12". Daily Mirror (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- "Coronation Street actor Bill Roache, who has spent 53 years playing Ken Barlow, arrested over allegation that he raped 15-year-old girl". Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- "BBC News - Coronation Street star William Roache denies rape". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- "Coronation Street star William Roache to face rape charges". BBC News (BBC). 1 May 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- Coronation Street's Bill Roache charged with rape of 15-year-old in 1967
- Coronation Street's William Roache appears in court on rape charge
- "Roache charged with indecent assault". BBC News (BBC). 6 Jun 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
- Corrie Star Bill Roache Arrives Court
- Coronation Street's William Roache in court on sex charges
- Blackpool Madame Tussauds removes Ken Barlow waxwork