Bill Roache’s Coronation Street ‘frustration’

Bill Roache’s Coronation Street ‘frustration’

Bill Roache was "very cross" about ‘Coronation Street’ bosses making Ken Barlow a "nerdy character" – so he changed one of his most famous scenes, leaving Anne Kirkbride in tears.
The 86-year-old actor has recalled how he asked the producers if Ken could go to hit Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs) after he found out the businessman was having an affair with his wife Deirdre Barlow (Anne) in 1983, because he refused to let his character stand there and do nothing in the scene.
He said: "I put a lot of emotion and frustration into that because they made Ken into a bit of a nerdy character so Deirdre would go off with Mike and I got very cross about that.
"I got the scene and it mentioned, ‘Your partner’s having an affair with somebody, you’re having an argument with your partner about it.’
"Then there’s a knock at the door, the person she’s having an affair with is there saying, ‘Alright Deirdre, anything bothering you?’ And they said Ken just stood there when all that happened.
"And I said to the director, ‘Sorry I can’t do that, I want to hit him.’ I said, ‘Alright let me go to hit him and Deirdre stop me.’ "
However, the filming didn’t quite go to plan because Bill was too quick to attempt to strike Johnny’s character, leaving Anne in tears for real, but he believes the changes were justified because the scene won "a lot of awards".
He added to the Manchester Evening News: "When we came to do the scene Anne wasn’t quick enough and she actually burst into tears because I was really forceful in this and she said, ‘I didn’t know it was going to be like that.’
"I said ‘well it is’, so we set up again and we went for it and I realised Anne wasn’t going to be quick enough but I thought, ‘I’m going to grab hold of Anne, slam her against the door and not let Johnny get a word out.’
"Although she was upset and crying she carried on with her words and we got a lot of awards for that scene."
Anne sadly died of cancer aged 60 in January 2015, and Bill still feels her presence on the ‘Corrie’ set.
He recently said: "Even now, I can feel her around. It’s very powerful, particularly at the Barlows’ where Ken and Deirdre were called upon to do a lot of crying and shouting.
"But I know all is well for her. And you get to the point where you can think about the happy times and enjoy them.
"She’s only ever a thought away – love is a great connector. I can say to Annie, ‘Didn’t we have a great time?’ They love it if you become happy again and think about them in a loving way."