Coronation Street actor William Roache insists he has no plans to retire, as he celebrates 60 years on the cobbles.
After spending the past six decades on Corrie, having appeared in the very first episode, it would be understandable if William – who refers to himself as Bill – was thinking about taking a well-earned break.
After all, he already landed himself a place in the Guinness World Records when the show celebrated its golden anniversary – 10 years ago!
Yet a decade later – as both the soap and Bill celebrate their 60th anniversary – the 88-year-old actor shows no signs of slowing down.
‘I’d still like to be in the show when I’m 90, when I’m 100, even when I’m 120 if I can make it,’ he says.
‘I love Coronation Street, I really do. I remember a director once saying you get scenes in it that are as good as anything you get in films and that’s true. It’s a very happy place to be and I look forward to going into work. It’s been wonderful, so while I can do it and while they want me, I’ll be here.’
He continues, ‘I don’t buy into the idea that ageing means deterioration. It’s a belief system to a large extent. People say, “Oh, I’ve got an ache in my shoulder, it’s old age, I’m getting on.” No, rubbish. If you’ve got an ache in your shoulder there’s some reason for it, so do something about it and get rid of it.’
‘I remember jokingly saying when I was 70, “I’m going to start getting younger every year.” But there’s an element of truth in that. I don’t accept that because of your age there are things you can’t do. I just keep going.’
Certainly Bill takes his health seriously. He eats well, drinks lots of water and cut out alcohol four years ago.
‘I did my bit of drinking in the early days, but I didn’t feel good after it, so I gradually cut it down over the last 20 years,’ he explains.
With a nudge from his youngest son Will, 34, he also exercises regularly.
‘I’m not very good at doing it, but my son makes me try a bit!’ he laughs. ‘I play golf and I like walking – getting out in the fresh air is good.’
This year, the pandemic took Bill away from his beloved cobbles for the first time in 60 years. Like the rest of the country, he was forced to stay at home during lockdown, returning to work in October – an absence of seven months.
Bill spent the time at his home in Cheshire with Will and Verity, 39, his two children from his marriage to his second wife, Sara, who died in 2009. He also has two children from his first marriage, his eldest daughter Vanya, who died in 2018, aged 50, and his actor son Linus, 56, who lives in the US.
‘I know it’s been a difficult time for a lot of people. I feel for them and I realise I’m very fortunate,’ he reflects. ‘I have a nice house with a garden. Will and Verity, who share a flat in London, came back and we’ve all been together.
‘It’s been nice. Every night we have what we call a cinema evening – half an hour of a comedy show like The Vicar of Dibley, then we’ll watch a classic film.
‘The house is big enough for us to have our own areas throughout the day, so I’ve been doing some meditating and writing – I’m currently writing a novel – then we come together in the evenings. I missed work – it is a big part of my life – but I was happy having my family around me.’
Bill will celebrate Christmas at home with Will and Verity.
‘‘We’ll FaceTime Linus. And Will, who’s a very good cook, has already said he’s cooking the Christmas dinner,’ he smiles. ‘We’ll have the usual Christmas crackers with dinner, then we’ll open our presents in the evening. I love Christmas and we plan to make it the best we can!’