Coronation Street legend Bill Roache describes OBE honour as a ‘lovely pat on the back’

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The soap veteran has reflected on the honour (Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Bill Roache has compared his OBE ‘getting a prize at school’.

The Coronation Street legend – who has played Ken Barlow on the cobbles since the ITV soap first aired 61 years ago – was named on the New Year’s Honours list alongside EastEnders icon June Brown (Dot Cotton), and he admitted he’s pleased with the ‘lovely’ recognition.

Appearing on Monday’s edition of This Morning, he told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby: ‘It’s always lovely. I sort of comparing it to getting a prize at school – it’s a little pat on the back, and it’s lovely.’

The 89-year-old actor – recognised for his services to drama and charity – appeared on the programme’s first ever episode in December 1960, and he pointed to the way his and Corrie’s own longevity has helped his character ‘develop and change’ on screen.

‘The great thing about Coronation Street is it shows the well-rounded characters,’ he explained. ‘We can develop and change, the writers will see that in the actor and put it through into the character.

‘So, it’s like a living organic process and it works very well. I’m just very fortunate to have this job.’

With his 90th birthday approaching in April, Bill – who has been vocal about his desire to act for another decade or more – insisted his youthful outlook on life keeps him fresh.

‘Aging is a belief system. If you believe you deteriorate, you will’, he claimed. ‘It’s what you do to yourself during that time.

‘Diet and sleeping, getting all those basics right, and looking after yourself, and believing that you can and will rejuvenate and carry on! That does it!’

William Roache

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Bill joked he’s still giving acting ‘a try’ after leaving the military in 1956, and he is delighted and ‘grateful’ to be such a key part of Corrie history.

‘I’m just so grateful to ITV and to Coronation Street and Tony Warren,’ he said, giving a nod to the show’s creator, while he also reflected on what the future could hold for Ken.

He added: ‘I just see him being head of this family, bit like a mafia family really, and the stories come from that!’

This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV.

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