Coronation Street was almost called something completely different, Ken Barlow legend Bill Roache reveals

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CORONATION Street actor Bill Roache has revealed Coronation Street was originally supposed to have an entirely different name — Florizel Street.

The actor, who has played Ken Barlow on the cobbles since the soap started in 1960, said the title was eventually changed because they thought it “sounded like a sanitary detergent.”

Coronation Street was almost called something completely different, Bill Roache reveals

He said: “It was called Florizel Street when we started rehearsing and everything. I remember coming in the room and saying Flor-aI-zel and a groan went up.

“Apparently a lot of people had been not liking it and one of the cleaners had said it sounded like a sanitary detergent.

“So the producer came in and said right, ‘I don’t care what name you’ve got, so long as it’s Coronation Street.’”

Bill makes the revelation in the one-off special Happy Birthday Bill which airs on ITV at 8pm on Tuesday to celebrate his 90th birthday, taking place next week.

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In the show, he also opens up about how he was first persuaded to take part in Corrie, which has led to him becoming the world’s longest-serving television star in a continuous role.

He said: “My agent persuaded me to come up and do the pilot.“He said, ‘You’re not working, you’ve got nothing on, you might as well do it.’ And this is the contract. Wow, £21.”It also sees him reunite in the Rovers Return with actress Anne Reid.

She played his first on-screen wife Valerie in the Sixties, but was written out in 1971 when her character was electrocuted.

Bill said: “I was surprised — she told me she used to dream about me and I laughed and said, ‘Don’t you mean nightmares?’ And then she told me she had a crush on me, but she never told me at the time.”

“Anne played my wife for eight years and I was very sad when she chose to leave.

“When Valerie died, she was due to meet Ken at the Rovers, so when she walked through the doors finally, 52 years later, it was a lovely moment — we both just started laughing.

“It was beautiful to see her again. To me, she looks no different. She also gave me a silver cup when she left, engraved with, ‘We must do it again some time’, so it was nice that we finally got that chance.”

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