‘Ken Barlow’ coming to town May 30

Arts & Entertainment Community Featured

Coronation Street legend Bill Roache will be on Water Street, Pictou, to chat with fans celebrating 57 years of ‘The Ken Barlow effect.’

To fans of the world’s longest-running television drama, Roache simply is Coronation Street. He has played Ken Barlow ever since the first episode of Corrie premiered in 1960.

His portrayal of the often-conflicted patriarch of the troubled Barlow clan — a frustrated intellectual with a lifelong way with women — has earned accolades and numerous awards and has made Roache one of Britain’s most-beloved actors whose popularity among the loyal followers of the kitchen-sink drama is impossible to overstate.

Roache is making Pictou one of his stops in a cross-Canada tour that began earlier this month. His appearance will take the format of an intimate one-on-one onstage interview which will allow Roache to give fans a rare glimpse into his personal life. The TV titan will share stories about his experiences on the famous set, the plotlines and the actors he has worked with over five decades.

Following is a Q&A with the actor, provided by his promotions staff:

Is this your first visit to Canada? And, what impresses you about coming to the country?

I visited St. John’s Newfoundland in the 80s. I did a play at the Art and Culture Centre. I was made to feel very welcome. I was amazed at the wilderness, vast areas and the animal life. A bit worried when I came across a bear’s footprint.

How important are Canadian fans to the worldwide success of Corrie?

It is really wonderful to have such a strong fan base in Canada. It is so rewarding and comforting to know that the show is enjoyed and appreciated by so many in Canada. I was thrilled to get a personal letter on my golden anniversary in 2010 from your prime minister, the RT. Hon. Stephen Harper, saying that he is a fan. I was really honoured.

Have you been surprised by the success of Coronation Street in Canada?

The Canadians have always struck me as being warm and friendly, family loving and with a good sense of humour. So, no, it does not surprise me that the show is successful there.

Are you looking forward to travelling in Canada ? And, did you realize how big a country it is?

I am very much looking forward to travelling from coast to coast. Yes, I am in awe at the size of the country. In 2012 we did seven shows from Halifax to Victoria. In England nowhere is more than a five-hour drive.

Can Canadian fans look forward to any juicy story lines for Ken coming up?

My main stories now are around my wonderfully dysfunctional family. My daughter Tracey appears to be able to run her floral business, for now but seems to have eyes for Steve Macdonald again, oh my! My son, Peter, was a bigamist and an alcoholic and now runs the Rovers Return inn and Ken and Deidre are a bit dodgy… We got to keep an eye on my grandson Simon as he seems to have that Barlow trait of making poor decisions. Keep watching as who knows?

Why do you think Corrie translates so well across the globe?

Because it is about ordinary people struggling with the adversities of life. Showing their weaknesses and their strengths but through it all their humour. And that, when the chips are down, human beings are shown at their best.

Tickets for the May 30 show are available at the deCoste box office.