William Roache plays Ken Barlow
William Patrick Roache MBE (born 25 April 1932) plays Ken
Barlow on Coronation Street.
William is the only remaining member of the original cast, having appeared in the first episode on 9 December 1960, and is currently the longest-serving actor in Coronation Street and in British soap overall.
In 1953, William was commissioned into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1954 and left the Army three years later.
William suffers from tinnitus because of a mortar bomb explosion that he witnessed while on National Service with the British Army during this time.
William has a son, Linus, and a daughter, Vanya, by his first wife Anna, to whom he was married from 1961 until divorcing in 1974.
From his second marriage, to Sara, William has a daughter named Verity and a younger son called William. A second daughter, Edwina, died aged 18 months from acute bronchial pneumonia in 1984.
Sara died unexpectedly in February 2009 at their home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, at the age of 58. They had been married since 1978.
In 1999, William was the recipient of the British Soap Awards Lifetime Achievement Award for his role as Ken Barlow.
William became a Member of the Order of the British Empire in
2001. In March 2007, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the
University of Chester in recognition of his contribution to
First appearance on Coronation Street in the UK:
9 December 1960: Student Ken was first seen arguing with his father, Frank, about a date with his girlfriend.