MOST people know him as Ken Barlow, Coronation Street's most cultured resident.
MOST people know him as Ken Barlow, Coronation Street's most cultured resident.During the past 45 years, the mild-mannered character has kept soap lovers enthralled with his long-running battle with Mike Baldwin, tangled love life and meandering career path, which has included teaching, driving taxis and editing a newspaper.
But few of his fans know that the actor who plays Ken, William Roache, has a life-long interest in all things psychic and supernatural.
Now the 73-year-old actor is coming to Peterborough to give a talk about his spiritual journey at a charity event.
William, who received an MBE in 2000 for his services to television, has been interested in spiritual matters since he was a young boy.
His grandfather was interested in alternative therapies, such as hypnotism and homeopathy, and the teachings of radical educationalist Rudolf Steiner, who believed in a spiritual world – very unusual for a Victorian gentleman.
He attended a Steiner school set up by his grandfather in the garden of the family home.
He had a number of strange experiences in his youth which widened his curiosity, including attending spiritualist medium meetings and being told his dead grandfather was standing next to him, seeing a grey ghost while on the loo and waking to find a light-blue Buddha hovering at the foot of his bed.
William denied reports in the national press that he is a druid, or indeed belongs to any formal organisation.
He said: "I am just searching for the truth. I've looked into various religions, such as Hinduism, but I don't belong to any particular group.
"I am very interested in finding out what's out there and what's true.
"A lot of my colleagues don't know about my interests, but I have had chats with a few of them about it over the years."
William will appear at the John Clare Theatre at Peterborough Central Library, Broadway, next Saturday, at 2.30pm.
The event is being organised by the Psychic and Spiritual Fellowship, which meets on the first Wednesday of each month at Walton Community Centre, in Mountsteven Avenue, for talks and demonstrations of everything from mediumship to reading auras.
All money raised by the fellowship goes to local causes.
> Tickets cost 5 and are available from chairwoman Jacqueline Lesley by calling 01733 347164.
Ken you believe it?
Ken Barlow is the longest-running soap character in the world.
Since he first appeared on our screens in 1960, he has lived in eight houses on the street and tied the knot four times (twice to Deirdre).
He has also had affairs with 23 different women, including Alma Sedgwick, Rita Fairclough and a character played by Ab Fab star Joanna Lumley.
He started out in the soap as a fiery young student at the University of Manchester, and has been a personnel officer, a teacher, a newspaper editor, a community activist, a male escort and even a trolley-pusher at a supermarket.