Ken Barlow – a love life in numbers

As actor William Roache bares his soul on Piers Morgan's Life Stories, we investigate the ins and outs of his Coronation Street alter-ego...

Between them, actor William Roache and his Coronation Street alter ego Ken Barlow would give Casanova a run for his money.


Roache is the subject of tonight’s Pier’s Morgan’s Life Stories – a frank interview which led to reports he had slept with 1,000 women – while the ins and outs of Barlow’s love life are well known to any Corrie fan.

Here are some vital statistics regarding the dalliances of the world’s longest-serving soap character (and the man who portrays him)…

3… marriages (and four weddings). To Valerie Tatlock in 1962, Janet Reid in 1972 and Deirdre Hunt – twice – in 1981 and 2005

5… children. Ken fathered four kids himself – Susan Barlow, Peter Barlow, Lawrence Cunningham and Daniel Osbourne – and is adopted dad to Deirdre’s daughter Tracy

28… girlfriends. Far too many to name them all, but here’s a selection: Ken’s first on-screen romance Susan Cunningham (later discovered to have given birth to his son, Lawrence); Yvonne Chappell, the hotel receptionist he met on the way to his first wife Valerie’s funeral; Wendy Nightingale, a married woman who moved in with Ken, making them Weatherfield’s first couple to live in sin; Denise Osbourne, set to marry Ken in 1996 until he discovered she had begun an affair with her brother-in-law Brian; Martha Fraser (Stephanie Beacham) the narrowboating thespian described by Radio Times’s Alison Graham as Ken’s “perfectly bourgeois bit-on-the-side”

years spent dallying with the women of Weatherfield. Ken is the world’s longest-serving soap opera character, having appeared continuously since Coronation Street began in December 1960

1,000… women Ken’s real-life alter-ego William Roache had reportedly slept with, following revelations on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories

20,000,000… viewers tuned in to watch Ken’s first wedding to Valerie Tatlock (Anne Reid) – and to see him discover Deirdre’s affair with his arch-enemy Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs)


William Roache is the guest on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories tonight at 9pm on ITV1