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Bill Roache: I feared I was getting axed from Corrie when I heard about storyline

Mirror logo Mirror 27/03/2017 Nicola Methven

Editor's note: This article contains spoilers.

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Actor Bill Roache feared his character was being cut from Coronation Street when he learned that Ken Barlow would suffer an attempted murder.

The star, who has been in the soap since its launch in 1960 and wants to stay until he’s at least 100, admitted he voiced his concerns to producer Kate Oates.

Bill, 84, said: “My first thought was ‘are they trying to write me out?’ - that was my question to Kate. But once I knew Ken would recover, I was thrilled with the storyline. Strong stories are great to do, as an actor they are very enjoyable.”

Tonight viewers watched in horror as Ken was found unconscious at the bottom of the stairs.

While it was initially assumed his fall was caused by another stroke, in Wednesday's episode the police will launch an attempted murder investigation after discovering he’d been hit on the head by a mystery assailant prior to the tumble.

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The whodunnit storyline is likely to run for many weeks, with the suspects including all his nearest and dearest. The list includes a murderer (Tracy), a drug dealer (Adam), a former alcoholic (Peter) and a student with a history of violence (Daniel) - and that’s just his family.

Other contenders include grudge-bearing builder Phelan and Daniel’s girlfriend Sinead, who blames Ken for making her abort her baby.

In recent weeks Ken has fallen out with every family member. Unable to remember what happened, he’s now horrified that one of his relatives wants him dead.

“There is a moment when he looks at them all and is terrified, as it could be any one of them because he has had rows with them all,” Bill said. “To find that it could be someone who is very, very close to you is very frightening. He is deeply hurt that a member of his family might want to kill him.”

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Ken goes to stay with Roy because he doesn’t know which of his family to trust. “As each one is arrested he thinks ‘it could be that person’,” Bill explained. “The paranoia would be huge, with each one there is a possible motive, an argument he has had which could have triggered it.”

The actor is loving the way that the Barlows have become “almost mafia like”. He added: “It occurred to me that I wanted to remain head of the family and have great stories and this is what is happening.”

He revealed that the soap’s cast have only recently been told who tried to kill Ken. “I hope the viewers enjoy trying to work out who it could be in the same way that we all did. It is very cleverly done and I am thrilled to bits with it.”

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He now hopes that Ken can come back stronger. “I would like him to become the natural wise leader, the patriarch of his new family - a respected elder statesmen.”

Good luck with that...

But Whodunnit? here's the list of suspects

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Adam Barlow

Ken’s grandson is supposed to have left for Canada after being beaten up by drug dealers because Ken burned his stash of cash. Has he returned for revenge?

Daniel Osbourne

Ken’s son Daniel was prepared to turn down his place at Oxford to become a father and is devastated by Sinead’s “miscarriage” - until the lies unravel. Has he decided his dad is to blame?

Pat Phelan

The builder is fuming after Ken accused him of doing a botched job on the kitchen, and is later found standing over Ken. Did the criticism tip him over the edge?

Peter Barlow

Ken believed Chloe’s lies about his eldest son cheating and drinking again and told Toyah, causing her to break up with Peter. Did he see red?

Tracy Barlow

Former murderer Tracy was appalled when she overheard Ken ranting to Sinead that he’d wasted his life with her mum Deirdre and he then refused to lend her the money to buy the flower shop.

Sinead Tinker

Ken accused her of stifling Daniel’s university dream, saying she was nothing more than a factory girl. His words prompted her to abort their unborn baby, which has left her heartbroken – and angry

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