Coronation Street fans were treated to an extra special episode tonight to mark the soap's huge milestone... but who announced they're leaving the cobbles?
But while the hour-long special was packed with classic Coronation Street one-liners and humour, fans have been left devastated over the fact Ken Barlow has decided to depart the cobbles.
Ken appeared in the first ever episode of Coronation Street back in 1960 and is still a firm fan favourite 10,000 episodes later.
Ken has been at the centre of some of the soap’s most memorable storylines over the years, with the Barlows’ being at the centre of life in Weatherfield and Ken leading the way.
But tonight’s episode saw the cobbles legend contemplating his future as he took a trip down memory lane with Audrey and Rita, and by the end of the episode he had announced plans to leave the cobbles and move to a fancy retirement home, leaving fans heartbroken…
But while fans mourn the loss of a national treasure, ITV has announced that this is definitely not the last we will see of Ken Barlow.
In an official statement Coronation Street revealed: “Fans needn’t worry that this is the last they will see of Ken, actor William Roache is not leaving the show.
“Ken will move out of number one and away from the street but future episodes will follow Ken and Claudia’s new life at Still Waters Luxury retirement complex, whilst back in Weatherfield Tracy and Peter Barlow will battle over who gets to move into the most famous house on the street.”
It has been revealed that on Monday night’s episode (10th February) Ken and Claudia will break the shocking news to their family that they are selling up and moving to Still Waters for a quieter life.
Unsurprisingly Tracy is set to have her eyes on number 1, desperate to move into the most coveted address on Coronation Street.
But while Carla Connor isn’t keen, Peter also puts himself in the race for Ken’s house, resulting in the siblings fighting it out for the house at a knockdown price.
Coronation Street insiders also revealed: “As Ken despairs at his warring family it confirms he is making the right decision to leave and next month viewers will see him and Claudia move into the luxurious development complete with cocktail bar, book club and even fencing lessons.
“Ken is delighted to discover that his old friends Norris and Freda are already settled in to life at Still Waters but when he crosses swords with fellow resident Charles, played by Michael Elwyn, it looks as though there may be just as much drama as there was on the cobbles.”
William Roache, who plays beloved Ken Barlow has added: “This is a big decision for Ken but in some ways he thinks it is now or never. He has lived on the same street his whole life and in the same house for most of it.
“He feels that he had a chance to move away with Martha on the barge but he let her go. Part of him regretted that. He doesn’t want to make the same mistake again and Claudia is very persuasive. Filming that final scene of the episode was very poignant, just Ken and Eccles and the cobbles.
“He breaks the news to the family next week and they are surprised but very soon Peter and Tracy start squabbling over who will be given first refusal on the house. We have already started filming at the retirement complex and I am really enjoying it, it always feels different when we film away from the street.
“It seems fitting that Ken makes this decision in the 10,000th episode but it will be strange not filming in number 1 after all this time.”
But will Ken and Claudia settle into life at the retirement complex? Or will the pull of Coronation Street be too much for Ken to ignore?
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV.