Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"My God man where did you ever find the time to sleep?" ..... Upon further reflection what a stupid question!

Coronation Street star William Roache talks Corrie with Prime Minister Stephen Harper

By Linda Barnard
Movie Writer
Friday, March 16, 2012
Prime Minister Stephen Harper engages in Corrie diplomacy with William Roache who plays Ken Barlow on Coronation Street.

Coronation Street star William Roache, 79, is ready to face some grilling about his sex life when he steps onstage in Toronto Saturday with his one-man show, now that’s making headlines back in Britain with the shocking admission he’s gotten busy with 1,000 women.

Show promoter Andrew Stuckless said during the question-and-answer portion of An Audience with William Roache Thursday night, an Ottawa fan did ask the Corrie star about a recent taping of Piers Morgan’s British TV show Life Stories, where Roache admitted he’d slept with “more than 100” women. When Morgan asked if the number was really closer to 1,000, Roache replied, “Well, I’m not denying it.”

“He expects it to be a topic across Canada,” said Stuckless, adding Roache, who spent yesterday playing tourist at Niagara Falls, will answer all questions.

But Prime Minister Stephen Harper kept the conversation much more highbrow in a private audience with the member of British TV drama royalty at 24 Sussex Thursday. Harper didn’t even ask Roache for inside information on future plot twists.

“They love the Street and (Harper) wrote me a personal letter on the (show’s) 50th anniversary and one to the cast,” said Roache, who brings his show to Toronto’s Winter Garden Theatre Saturday at 2 p.m. and Hamilton Place on March 18, part of a cross-Canada tour.

Harper and wife Laureen spent about 30 minutes with Roache, who has played often-conflicted intellectual Ken Barlow on Corrie since it first went on the air in 1960.

It seems life imitates art. On Corrie, Barlow has had some two dozen girlfriends and four marriages (he married wife Deirdre, played by Anne Kirkbride, twice) and has frequently strayed once wed. His most recent affair was with an actress who lived on a canal barge.

But fans of the series are probably more interested in who’s bedding who on the show, rather than in real life. Given that Canadians are several months behind British viewers on the often-complex Corrie storyline, did the prime minister try to pump Roache for spoilers about what fates await cast members?

“He didn’t inquire about storylines forthcoming,” Roache laughed. “He’s more diplomatic than that.”

Meeting fans in high places is nothing new for Roache. The British Royal Family contains many who tune into Corrie, including Queen Elizabeth, whom Roache has met “10 or 12 times.”

Roache said he’s been just as grateful to hear from his Canadian fans who watch Corrie on CBC TV. “The feeling and the reaction I have had from the Canadians has been one of the most overwhelmingly enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had,” he said.

It’s been a busy time for Roache on the cobbles of the fictional town of Weatherfield, where the drama is set, including a chance for him to work with both of his real-life sons, Linus, 48, (also seen on TV’s Law & Order) and James, 26. Both have had guest roles on the show, playing Ken’s son and grandson.

“It was absolutely out of this world,” Roache said of the experience of working with his sons. “It was the greatest thrill of my life and I was slightly nervous.”

As for what’s ahead for Ken, Roache, who has no intention of retiring, will only say, “I have a lot of rough rides coming and I do walk out of the house.”


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