Bill Roache: Corrie actor tells Joanna Lumley he’s ‘available’ 11 years after wife’s death

Bill Roache: Corrie actor tells Joanna Lumley he’s ‘available’ 11 years after wife’s death


Bill Roach tells Joanna Lumley that he is ‘available’

Bill Roache, 88, has told his ex co-star, Joanna Lumley, 74, that he is “available”, 11 years after his wife, Sara Roache, died. Bill, who is the world’s longest serving male actor in a continuing role in a soap, joked around with his former on-screen girlfriend as she visited him in The Rovers Return Inn on her travels around the country, as part of her new ITV show, Joanna Lumley’s Home Sweet Home – Travels in my Own Land.

I’m available, Joanna

Bill Roache

Bill, who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, was hinting heavily to the Absolutely Fabulous star that he is single and “available”, as well as calling her “very special”.

After reuniting, Joanna said to the soap actor: “You haven’t changed a bit”.

Bill replied: “Neither have you, just as beautiful as ever,” which made the actress laugh.

The ex-Bond girl worked out that it had been 47 years since her four week stint on “the most famous road in Britain”.

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Speaking to Bill, she admitted: “You can’t remember this but it was a big, bright spot in my life.

But her friend said he remembered it “very well”.

Joanna continued: “We fell for each other very fast, didn’t we.”

“Yes, but then you turned me down,” was Bill’s reply.

Joanna insisted: “But you’ve had 23 girlfriends, so you don’t have to try to make me feel special.”

But Bill immediately corrected his ex co-star:” You are special, I can tell you that. You’re very special.”

When asked if he was married, Bill replied that he wasn’t.

He said smoothly: “I’m available, Joanna,” which made the star laugh.

“Maybe Elaine now runs a school somewhere,” Joanna joked.

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Joanna appeared in the ITV soap for four weeks in 1973 where she played Elaine Perkins, the daughter of a local headmaster.

Scandalously, her on-screen love interest, Ken, was a teacher.

Speaking about her starring role, Joanna said: “It was 1973 when I got the call to be in Coronation Street.

“I thought my heart would never stop beating, [it was] the most exciting thing in the world.”

Bill’s ex-wife, Sara, died in 2009, aged 58, after she collapsed next to him in bed and never woke up.

After calling for an ambulance and following his wife to hospital, Bill was later told that Sara had sadly passed away.

He said in an interview with The Daily Mail: “Hearing that was so shocking. Sara – who had been so alive, so vital.

“The truth hit me like a physical blow, and I broke down.”

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