Coronation Street star William Roache has revealed his character Ken Barlow would not hesitate to pursue a romance with Audrey Roberts, if he knew of her true feelings.
Fans of the ITV soap have already seen Audrey, played by Sue Nicholls, confess her soft spot for Ken to Rita Tanner (Barbara Knox), despite him being in a relationship with newcomer Nessa (Sadie Shimmin) – but the show’s stalwart said the widower would ‘drop everything’ for the hairdresser.
Coronation Street’s Ken (William Roache) and Nessa (Sadie Shimmin) (ITV)
William told Radio Times: “If he knew that (how Audrey felt), he would drop everything! He would like to think that she had feelings for him, but he doesn’t know. He knows that she likes him and that they get on, but I don’t think he knows.”
The actor said while Audrey’s feelings would be reciprocated, Ken has been repressing his own emotions since the death of his wife Deirdre (Anne Kirkbride).
“He certainly has feelings for her, but he hasn’t allowed himself to open up and express them until he’s fully over Deirdre,” he explained.
“He was looking for companionship of the right sort with Audrey. Initially it wasn’t anything more than that – she was a comfort, a shoulder to cry on and he enjoyed her company.”
William Roache and Sue Nicholls (Peter Byrne/PA)
William, who has played Ken on the show for 55 years, said he approves whole-heartedly if Audrey and Ken were to take their friendship to the next level.
“When I first heard the producers say that this is what they were going to do, I thought it was a great idea. And this is me, Bill Roache, speaking,” the 83-year-old star said.
“He’s known Audrey for 30 years, she’s been married to other people, but they’ve always had a very nice respect for each other. She’s respected the fact that Ken is a university graduate and has a degree.
“Since the death of Deirdre, she has been very warm and very sympathetic, which is laying down the foundation. So when the time is right, their relationship could grow.”
William Roache and Sue Nicholls in character on Coronation Street (Joseph Scanlon/ITV)
He added: “It seems to be very common that people want Ken and Audrey to get together and I like it.”
But the pair’s romance won’t be smooth sailing, as Ken teased.
He said: “It’s amazing, after all these years of just being friends, but it’s going to be stretched out – it will be on and off, they’re not just going to get together and then suddenly get married because there’s no story there. There’ll definitely be problems.”