Coronation Street is to become a family affair for stalwart William Roache when his real-life sons join the show.

The actor, who has played Ken Barlow since the programme’s first episode, will be joined on screen by sons Linus (pictured with wife Rosalind) and James when a 50-year-old secret comes to light on the cobbles.

When a letter from the 1960s is unearthed during building work, Ken discovers a dark family secret, but his desire to dredge up the past causes friction with wife Deirdre (Anne Kirkbride) and son Peter (Chris Gascoyne).

William said: “I can think of no better way to celebrate my 50th anniversary on Coronation Street than to be working alongside both of my sons – I am looking forward to it immensely.”

Linus Roache, 46, is the Coronation Street star’s eldest son and is from his first marriage to Anna Cropper. He rose to prominence for his role as a gay clergyman in 1994 film Priest and has built up a profile in the US starring in films like The Chronicles of Riddick and for playing Michael Cutter in TV series Law and Order.

He has also appeared in Batman Begins and was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Robert F Kennedy.

Linus also briefly played the role of Peter Barlow in Coronation Street as a child in 1975.

James Roache, 24, who changed his name professionally from William to avoid confusion with his father, is William’s youngest son.

His mother was the actor’s second wife Sara, who died suddenly last year at the age of 58 as a result of a heart condition.

James appeared in ITV1 drama Cold Blood and The Innocence Project for the BBC.

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