I've had a run of news items pop into my inbox over the last week about William Roache, aka Ken Barlow on Coronation Street. He was on BBC Breakfast last week and mentioned a couple of things of note that the press is picking up.
One excerpt from that interview mentions his Guinness record of playing the longest continuous character on television. This isn't however, a world record, as he is well aware. That record belongs to an American actor called Don Hastings who has played Bob Hughes on the American soap, As The World Turns, since October 1960, two months longer than Bill has been playing Ken Barlow. There are two other actors that have played their characters longer but both women have not been continuous in their portrayal. Eileen Fulton, who has played the much married Lisa on the same soap since May 1960, has left the soap three times over the years. Helen Wagner beats them all, having played Nancy Hughes, "Bob's" mother, again on the same show, since April 1956 but was only on the show sporadically over a five year period in the 1980s.
Apparently, Bill has spoken to Don on the phone and jokingly asked him to be ill for two months so the world record would come to him! He's already said that retiring is not an option so you never know, he just might take that record yet!
Another item had to do with a "feud" that he had with Pat Phoenix (Elsie Tanner) early on in Corrie. They'd disagreed on how a scene should work and the director went with her idea, which didn't sit well with Bill but he refused outright to go along with an added bit she wanted to do where she would throw an ashtray at his character and called her unprofessional. She didn't speak to him for two years, he says!
He also had some great memories about Violet Carson who played the intimidating Ena Sharples so well for so many years. She had "a face you could break rocks on", he says and was very nice but also a force to be reckoned with.