Bill Roache almost rejected Barlow

Bill Roache admits he almost turned down the role of Ken Barlow in 'Coronation Street' 50 years ago but changed his mind after being told he would have guaranteed work for six weeks

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Bill Roache

Bill Roache

Bill Roache admits he almost turned down his role in 'Coronation Street'.

The 78-year-old actor has played Ken Barlow in the ITV1 soap for 50 years - making him the world's longest soap star - but says he was initially unsure of accepting the offer because he already had quite a successful career.

He said: "I wasn't interested. I had my flat in London, I was getting acting parts and it all looked very rosy."

However, he soon changed his mind and agreed to go to an audition as his agent told him it was guaranteed work for six weeks.

Bill added to the News of the World newspaper: "Those six weeks have now stretched into 50 years, and the programme is still going strong. Nobody could have known way back then what an impact it would have."

Despite being in the show for 50 years and the only original member of the cast, Bill - who was threatened with the axe just three years after he joined - still enjoys every moment of his job and has no intention of quitting.

He said: "I feel great. I've just had another clean bill of health and just lost 18lbs in weight and I'm feeling really good.

"I love the Street and while they want me and while I can do it I want to carry on. I don't care if I'm 120, I'll still be there."

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