William Roache, born 25 April 1932, is an English actor who has played Ken Barlow in the soap opera Coronation Street since its first episode on 9 December 1960. He is listed in the Guinness World Records as the longest-serving living television actor in a continuous role. His eldest son is actor Linus Roache.
Roache joined the British Army, and was commissioned into the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1953. A year later he was promoted to lieutenant. In 1956 he left the British Army with the rank of captain. Due to an exploding mortar round during his military service, Roache suffers from tinnitus. After leaving the army, Roache turned to acting. Appearing in various stage productions, he hen had uncredited roles in several films, and later small parts in television serials. He played the minor role of a space centre operator in the Norman Wisdom film The Bulldog Breed.
Shortly before joining Coronation Street at the beginning of the programme in 1960, Roache played the leading role in a Granada Television play called Marking Time, transmitted on ITV in 1961. In an interview in 2007, Roache recalled “I played a young soldier in Germany who fraternised with a German girl, although I can’t remember now how it ended. It was highly prestigious, though, and I have tried to hunt it down but there is no trace of it.” He added: “But Tony Warren, who created Coronation Street, saw it and thought I was right for Ken Barlow.” [Wikipedia]