Corrie legend Bill Roache’s son said he’ll still be on the cobbles when he’s 100

Corrie legend Bill Roache could still be on the Street when he’s 100, his actor son reckons.

Linus, 54, has backed his 86-year-old dad – the world’s longest-serving soap star – to carry on as Ken Barlow until he gets his birthday telegram from the Queen.

Bill has played Ken since Coronation Street launched in 1960. And even after a shattering year in which he lost daughter Vanya, he’s not ready to give up the role that has been his life.

Linus – also an actor, who has starred in Channel 4’s US drama Homeland – said: “I don’t know what he is doing to stay as young as he is.

“He is great, my dad. He is also very open and he engages with life, and that is what is keeping him looking so young.

“I should think he will go way past 100. He does not relate to his age at all. He doesn’t see himself as old.”

But Linus, speaking at a Rainbow charity ball at London’s Dorchester, admitted Vanya’s death from liver failure at 50 had hit the family hard.

“It has been a difficult year,” he said. “It has been very challenging. It was deeply painful for all of us.” Linus says the close-knit family – his dad, sister Verity, 36, and brother Will, 32, – like to focus on the good times they shared with Vanya.

“I don’t know if there is a family philosophy, but life does go on. I love my sister dearly and she will always be with me.”

Dad Bill has faced a succession of tragedies. In 1983, he lost 18-month-old daughter Edwina to pneumonia. His wife Sara died as a result of a heart condition in 2009, aged 58.

The actor also had to face the nightmare of historic sex abuse allegations in court in 2013, but was cleared.

And throughout all his challenges, Bill – who released book Life and Soul this week, giving away the secrets to his long and happy life – has remained undaunted, and unaffected by his fame.

Linus, who is making a BBC show with Keeley Hawes and Timothy Spall, says: “He is very engaged with the public. He’s been the same person on screen as he always has been. He loves what he does and he is good at what he does.”

Bill himself reckons he could live until 120. He revealed earlier this month: “The body was designed to go on for ever as cells renew themselves.

“Ageing is a belief system.”

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