So is Ken Barlow about to dump new love interest Nessa for salon owner Audrey? Next week’s episodes of Corrie will see Ken caught between two women as a sneaky Audrey sabotages Nessa’s new hairdo, just as she’s about to attend Nick and Carla’s engagement party.
After Nessa refuses to go to the bash, she tries to appease Ken by suggesting that she stay the night. But does Ken really think that he and Nessa are compatible? And is he aware of Audrey’s true feelings? Here, actor William Roache discusses Ken’s quandary and reveals who he thinks his character should be with…
So, is Ken ready for another relationship? Does he feel guilty about entertaining women so soon after Deirdre’s death?
He hasn’t got over Deirdre yet, Nessa has come along and is naturally very forceful – it wasn’t that Ken was looking for a relationship, but Nessa’s the one that’s got the eyes for him and she went for Ken. He was almost overwhelmed by it.
How important has Audrey’s friendship been in helping him cope?
He’s known Audrey for 30 years, she’s been married to other people but they’ve always had a very nice respect for each other. She’s respected the fact that Ken is a university graduate and has a degree. Since the death of Deirdre, she has been very warm and very sympathetic, which is laying down the foundation. So when the time is right, their relationship could grow.
How does Ken think Audrey feels about him?
He knows that she likes him and that they get on, but I don’t think he knows. He’s a bit wary about whether she feels the same way about him that he feels about her, and this is something that’s to be explored, so no.
Audrey is gentle, strong, with a quiet sense of humour. Nessa is outgoing, over confident, rushes in without thinking, pulls everything along, and she even gets Ken on a bike and doing all sorts which is great fun. Whether it’ll last I’m not sure, but it’s still early days.
Cathy thinks that Nessa is trouble – does Ken have any inkling that she might be bad news?
Yeah, Ken realises that she just acts before putting any thought into something. So, soon enough, she’s going to get herself into trouble, and Ken pretty quickly sees that.
Does Ken ever think that he and Nessa might be too different? Or is he enjoying her company?
He’s partly enjoying the company and he keeps saying things like, “well Deirdre wouldn’t want me to sit around moping”, but I think he’s justifying the fact that he doesn’t think like she does. She’s really good fun, there’s no doubt about that, and hopefully the viewers find her fun too. But I think his heart isn’t in it – inside, he doesn’t feel it’s right.
Do you think Ken looked for anything with Audrey originally before Nessa?
He was looking for companionship of the right sort with Audrey. Initially it wasn’t anything more than that – she was a comfort, a shoulder to cry on and he enjoyed her company. Whether or not there was any thought of it going further at that point I don’t think so. But it was going to be able to build from there.
What would Ken do if he knew Audrey had feelings for him – would he end things with Nessa?
If he knew that, he would drop everything! He would like to think that she had feelings for him, but he doesn’t know. He certainly has feelings for her, but he hasn’t allowed himself to open up and express them until he’s fully over Deirdre.
Do you think Ken and Audrey would make a good couple?
I do, I really do. And this is me, Bill Roache, speaking. When I first heard the producers say that this is what they were going to do, I thought it was a great idea. It’s amazing, after all these years of just being friends, but it’s going to be stretched out – it will be on and off, they’re not just going to get together and then suddenly get married because there’s no story there. There’ll definitely be problems.
Have you heard the reaction from fans? What do you think?
Yes I hear that people make comments. It seems to be very common that people want Ken and Audrey to get together and I like it.
How did you feel when you heard that Ken was going to have other love interests?
Well, I knew it was going to be Audrey, so I took that very well. Then I heard about Nessa, but he doesn’t think he stands a chance with Nessa – she just takes everything over so he just puts up with it.
Have you enjoyed working closely with Sue Nicholls?
Sue is brilliant to work with and so is Sadie Shimmin who plays Nessa. As an actress, she’s brilliant and I love her dearly – I have enjoyed working with her very much.
You can watch a 60-second rundown of this week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.
And visit our dedicated Coronation Street page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.