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Coronation Street legend Bill Roache reveals surprising fact about the soap's name

Coronation Street star Bill Roache on the red carpet in a suit
Coronation Street was meant to have a very different name when they first began in 1960. (Image credit: Getty)

Coronation Street veteran Bill Roache has admitted that the soap was originally supposed to have a very different name when he first started rehearsing for the show in 1960.

Bill has been playing Ken Barlow for 62 years since Coronation Street began in 1960, making him the longest-running character. 

The TV legend holds a Guinness World Record for the longest-running soap star and in December 2021, he was made an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for his services to drama and charity.

In a one-off ITV special, Happy Birthday Bill, which celebrates his career as he approaches his 90th birthday on Monday, April 25, he revealed the alternative name the soap was originally called.

He admitted: “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 Roache as Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

Bill Roache has played Ken Barlow for over six decades. (Image credit: ITV)

As he approaches his milestone birthday, Bill also told ITV (opens in new tab) that he has no intention of retiring. 

"People will say when are you retiring? Are you going to take a break? But then what happens? Whilst I can do it, and whilst they will have me, I have no intention of retiring. I am so fortunate to work for an organisation that is happy to have me," he revealed.

The ITV documentary Happy Birthday Bill will air on Tuesday, April 19 at 8pm and will 'offer a glimpse of Roache's life off-screen with his family and will explore his life before the cobbles, with him returning to the army barracks where he did his basic training as part of the programme' according to ITV.

His character has been involved in numerous explosive storylines and has been married three times on the show to Valerie Tatlock, Janet Reid and Deirdre Barlow.

Happy Birthday Bill airs on ITV and ITV Hub on Tuesday, April 19 at 8pm.

Grace Morris
Grace Morris

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides for must-watch shows and the latest TV news. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film and TV grow stronger.


You'll usually find her watching the drama unfold in the latest reality series and much-loved soaps (usually with chocolate by her side!). Grace also likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series.