The day I met Ken Barlow

I’VE never been a fan of Coronation Street but grudgingly admit admiring the soap’s longevity.

I recall the evening almost 52 years ago when my gran and auntie came round to watch with my mum the first episode of this new groundbreaking take on northern life.

After that, Corrie became a viewing ritual for the three of them. Tea, biscuits and a voyeuristic peep into Elsie Tanner’s sex life, which would often earn tut-tuts and hushed comments in disapproving tones as if gossiping in the Rover’s Return snug.

Compared with today’s plot lines, however, the street goings-on then were tame fare indeed. But none of the subsequent storylines has ever put my mum off viewing.

And she’s never questioned how so many deaths, disasters and dastardly doings can be visited on one little northern street.

She simply suspends disbelief as she’s drawn irresistably into Corrie life.

Since that first episode was broadcast on December 9 1960, my mum has been so street-stuck she’s never missed an episode.

Indeed, she’d only agree to holiday abroad if someone recorded the programme for her.

So you can understand why I took advantage of an opportunity to mention my mum’s devotion when I bumped into William Roache - aka Ken Barlow - at an media awards ceremony in Manchester last week.

“Excuse me, Bill,” I said, “but I’ve a bone to pick with you.”

He looked suitably stunned as if doing a doom-laden close-up to camera on hearing of yet another Corrie scandal.

But his expression quickly turned to relief when I explained the reason for my ‘annoyance’ - that my mum has seen far more of him than she has of me over the last five decades.

He seemed genuinely honoured as we posed for a photograph, taken by a bemused colleague, which I plan to use as the image for a Christmas card - ‘To Mum, with love from Allan and Ken’.

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