Roache was later educated at the independent Rydal School in Colwyn Bay, North Wales. In 1953, he was commissioned into the Royal Welch Fusiliers. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1954 and left the Army three years later. Due to a mortar bomb explosion that he witnessed while on National Service with the British Army during this time, Roache suffers from tinnitus.
Roache is the second-longest continuous actor in the history of television serials. Only Don Hastings, who has played Bob Hughes on the American soap opera As the World Turns since October 1960, without a break, has played the same character longer. The Guinness Book of Records states that the non-continuous record is held by Helen Wagner, who has played Nancy Hughes on the same soap opera, As the World Turns, since April 1956. Wagner made only sporadic appearances between 1981 and 1985.
In 1992, The Sun newspaper accused Roache of being as boring as his character Ken Barlow. Roache then sued for libel, employing Peter Carter-Ruck as his lawyer. The Sun offered to settle out of court for £50,000. Roache turned this down and went ahead with legal action. He won the case and was awarded the same amount in damages. However, because he had turned down the earlier settlement he was liable for his considerable costs. Roache then sued Peter Carter-Ruck for misadvising him and lost. In 1999, he declared himself bankrupt.
In September and October 2005, Roache appeared as a celebrity contestant in Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon. He was the winner of The Golden Shot remake, progressing through to Bullseye where he was beaten by television presenter Vernon Kay.
Roache is now patron of the Ilkeston-based production company Sustained Magic Ltd. The company exists to help encourage the arts development within Ilkeston and the East Midlands to help develop new actors.
In March 2007, Roache was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Chester in recognition of his contribution to television. In June of that year, he accepted an offer to become an honorary member of the voting panel for the 'Carer of the Year Award' organised by Castle Comfort Stairlifts of Staffordshire.
Roache is left-handed.
'I've Had a Life Alongside Coronation Street' Actor William Roache, Otherwise Known as Corrie's Ken Barlow, Talks Life on and off the Street with Karen Price
Oct 04, 2008; Byline: Karen Price WILLIAM Roache is a British institution. For almost 50 years he has been etched onto the nation's...
SONNY SIDE OF THE STREET; Sundayinterview: Coronation Street Legend William Roache Will Be Joined On-Screen by His Real-Life Sons, Linus and James, in a Storyline That Kicks off Next Sunday. the Three Actors Tell DIANA PILKINGTON about Their Hard-Hitting Plot and How It Feels to Star on the Cobbles Together
Aug 29, 2010; FAMILY AFFAIR: From left, James Roache as James, William Roache as Ken and Linus Roache as Lawrence in Coronation Street LOOKING...