William played Ken Barlow opposite Anne as Deirdre Barlow for more than 30 years and admitted that the scene in which the spectacles were given to him was particularly tough because he had come to know them so well.
Anne died at the beginning of the year and her character’s death has now been written into the ITV soap, with the storyline due to screen from Monday, July 6.
Anne Kirkbride as Deirdre Barlow (ITV)
William said: “Ken isn’t the sort of person who shows his emotions. For most of it, he’s on the verge of tears, but he’s just keeping it under the surface.
“However then there comes a point where he’s given her glasses. As an actor, Ken is given the glasses of Deirdre, which is highly emotive as glasses are very personal, they’re very close to the person, but of course when I got the glasses, they were also Anne’s.
“Anne had worn those glasses for 20 years, so there was a complete merger for me, there was no Bill and Ken and Deirdre and Anne, it was just one. I felt the loss of both.”
William Roache as Ken Barlow (ITV)
William explained: “From an acting point of view it made it totally simple and totally believable and very easy to play. From the grieving and sadness point of view, it made it totally real.
“It was the only time there is a blurring of the edges between the character and the actor – it was just one, it became complete oneness, which is interesting and helpful.”