94 Facts About Ken Barlow


Ken Barlow is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera Coronation Street, played by William Roache.

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Ken Barlow debuted in the soap's first episode on 9 December 1960.

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Ken Barlow was introduced as the educated son of a working-class family.

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The character developed a reputation as a ladies' man; plots saw Ken using underhanded tactics to boost his prospects in an election, dating numerous women, marrying four times to three women, fathering four children with three women, as well as later adopting Deirdre's daughter Tracy Barlow.

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Ken Barlow was born and raised at 3 Coronation Street, Weatherfield, Lancashire.

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Ken Barlow is the eldest son born to Frank and Ida Barlow.

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An intelligent pupil, Ken Barlow attends grammar school after passing his eleven plus exam, and in 1957 wins a scholarship at Manchester University; he lives with his parents and brother David in Weatherfield while studying and gains a second class honours degree in History and English.

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When Ken Barlow writes a scathing newspaper article about his uneducated neighbours in Weatherfield, Frank and the community are outraged.

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Ken Barlow turns down a teaching post to support his father, but he and Frank continue to clash until Frank leaves in 1964.

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Ken Barlow begins teaching, and marries Valerie Tatlock in July 1962.

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Ken Barlow continues to stand up for his political beliefs and spends seven days in prison in March 1967, after being arrested for protesting.

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Ken Barlow is left a single parent following Valerie's untimely death; she perishes after being electrocuted in January 1971, and he is left heartbroken.

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Ken Barlow is supported by Valerie's uncle Albert Tatlock, with whom he shares a close relationship, but caring for the twins proves too difficult and they are sent to live with their grandparents in Glasgow.

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Ken Barlow has numerous flings, including a one-night stand with Rita Littlewood, but his next serious relationship occurs in 1973, when Ken Barlow marries Janet Reid, in the hope that she will mother his two children.

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In 1981, they marry, with Ken Barlow becoming stepfather to Deirdre's four-year-old daughter Tracy.

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Ken Barlow takes the separation badly and attempts suicide by overdose, but is prevented from doing so by his friend, Bet Lynch.

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Mike hates the thought of Ken Barlow spending Christmas Day with his son, but Ken Barlow's pride gets the better of him.

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Ken Barlow cannot handle the situation, and he and Maggie split.

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Ken Barlow has a relationship with hairdresser Denise Osbourne in 1994 and fathers her child; their son Daniel is born in 1995.

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Denise agrees to marry Ken Barlow, but is having an affair with her brother-in-law Brian Dunkley at the same time.

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Ken Barlow cannot go through with it, and jilts Martha, returning to Deirdre.

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When Ken Barlow discovers that Lawrence is intolerant of the homosexuality of his own son, James, Ken Barlow severs contact.

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Ken Barlow is fearful that his son is going to die, and this almost happens when Peter goes into cardiac arrest, after marrying Leanne Battersby on his hospital bed; However, Peter survives.

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When Ken Barlow discovers this, James packs his things and leaves; Ken Barlow tries to make him stay but James pushes him out of the way, knocking him unconscious.

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Ken Barlow doesn't know where his loyalties lie when Peter is found to be having an affair with Carla Connor, and he is estranged from his son, Simon.

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Ken Barlow is given a custodial sentence, whilst Peter is free to go.

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Ken Barlow is infuriated that Deirdre did not tell him sooner about all this and sets out to clear Peter's name, only to find that the majority of residents on the street, including Simon, believes that Peter did kill Tina.

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Ken Barlow later discovers that Peter has sacked his lawyer and it becomes even more likely that he will be found guilty of the murder.

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Ken Barlow tries to make Peter change his mind, but he is adamant on leaving, so Ken Barlow respects his wishes and sees him off At this point, Deirdre should have come home but called back to say she was staying with Bev a while longer, as one of her relatives had just died.

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Ken Barlow later begins dating Nessa Warner, much to the disapproval of Rita and Emily.

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Ken Barlow accuses Peter of drinking and after their argument, Ken suffers a stroke and he is hospitalised.

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Ken Barlow decides not to go choosing to support his new girlfriend Sinead Tinker, who fell pregnant.

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Ken Barlow later turns on Sinead saying she has trapped Daniel and blames her for his son not going to university, something that he wishes he had done in 1960.

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Ken Barlow realized that he had wasted his time being with Deirdre, and wishes that he had not married her, but truly loved her more than his other wives, despite her affair with men like Adam's father Mike in 1983.

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In early 2019, Ken Barlow begins a relationship with Audrey's frenemy Claudia Colby.

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In 2020 Ken Barlow decided to move away from the street for a new adventure and moved into the Stillwaters retirement complex with Claudia.

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Ken Barlow is one of the twenty-two original Coronation Street characters devised by series creator Tony Warren.

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Ken Barlow made his debut in the soap's first episode, broadcast on 9 December 1960.

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Ken Barlow attended the audition, at which he was asked to read The Daily Telegraph newspaper in a Lancashire accent.

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Two pilot episodes were filmed, with Ken Barlow played by Roache in one, and by actor Philip Lowrie in the other.

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Ken Barlow's agent convinced him to take it, as it would enhance his exposure around the broadcast of Marking Time.

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Ken Barlow stated in 2010 that although he initially only intended to feature in Coronation Street for a short time, once he had filmed it and it was transmitted with "such colossal impact", he realised it was something special.

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Ken Barlow ultimately decided to stay—a decision he is happy with in retrospect, as his qualms were never with the series itself, but the way he felt personally.

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Ken Barlow has a son [Peter] who's an alcoholic bigamist and a daughter [Tracy] who's a convicted murderer.

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Tony Warren created Ken Barlow as a "zeitgeist" of modern times in 1960, and it has been suggested that Ken Barlow is a "prism through which to read the political and cultural history of the last half century".

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Annoyed at Ken Barlow being belittled and the scene stripped of its "dramatic impact", Roache rowed with Phoenix, who did not speak to him again—outside of their scenes together—for two years.

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Ken Barlow has been described as the most famous fictional reader of The Guardian, a newspaper that attracts readers of the mainstream left of British political opinion.

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Ken Barlow has had several forays into journalism for left-wing publications over the years, and was occasionally shown to be frustrated that his political views were not shared by others.

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Ken Barlow changed from teacher to newspaper owner, through various jobs, but threw that away too.

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Ken Barlow has always liked to see himself as a big fish in a small pond, with his steely, domineering manner and feeling of superior intellect.

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Ken Barlow denies the label, particularly given that Ken has had numerous romantic dalliances during his tenure.

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Ken Barlow is renowned for having had multiple relationships with women during his time in Coronation Street.

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Ken Barlow has had more girlfriends than most of the Street's male residents put together.

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In one storyline, Ken Barlow had to start looking after the children more frequently, but he grew bored and would often leave them unattended.

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Reid and Roache were briefly concerned that her departure would result in Ken Barlow being written out, and Roache recalls that Ken Barlow emigrating with the twins was a scenario under consideration.

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Ken Barlow had plans for them to move away from the Street and into a bigger house, and went along with the idea Ken had of getting the twins back to live with them, while all along having no intention of sharing a home with his kids.

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Ken Barlow openly showed her dislike for his children and sent them to boarding school.

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Ken Barlow was described as "shattered" and "remorseful" by the death of Janet, and felt guilty over the fact he did not try to help her more.

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Ken Barlow believes that Ken was thereafter included in "much stronger stuff" as a result, including a storyline in which Deirdre had an affair with his rival, Mike Baldwin.

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Ken Barlow concluded that Roache proved his theory correct, and praised his performance.

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Now infamous scene, in which Ken Barlow comes face-to-face with Mike following the discovery of the affair and a showdown ensues, was originally scripted differently.

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The couple's first marriage eventually disintegrated in the early 1990s, this time when Ken had an affair with colleague Wendy Crozier, a dalliance which ended in divorce for the Barlows.

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Ken Barlow was paired romantically with hairdresser Denise Osbourne in 1994, the romance scuppering the chances of a reconciliation between recent divorcees Ken Barlow and Deirdre.

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Ken Barlow's problem is that she just doesn't know whether she's coming or going.

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Ken Barlow tracked down his son following marital unease with Deirdre, which led to interactions with Denise when he turned up unannounced for a visit.

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Ken Barlow meets Martha by the canal while he is walking his dog, Eccles.

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Ken Barlow seeks her out again, and he helps her go through her lines.

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Roache told What's on TV that Ken Barlow is happy to find a "like-minded person" who is easy to talk to.

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Ken Barlow enjoys telling Martha about his problems, his son and his grandchildren, as she is not judgmental.

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Martha asks him about Peter's mum and Ken Barlow tells her that she's dead, which is the truth, so Martha automatically assumes he's a widower and he doesn't put her right.

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Roache revealed that Ken Barlow is not thinking about having an affair with Martha, but he is "captivated" by her, and does have feelings for her.

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Roache believes that Ken Barlow was in love with Elaine, though her feelings for him were less intense.

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Ken Barlow recalls some discussion of re-introducing her to the series in 2009; however, this did not come to fruition.

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Ken Barlow was originally intended to have a sister named Enid.

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Ken Barlow was bored with looking after the children, Peter and Susan, before Valerie's death.

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Ken Barlow shoved his kids up in Scotland, didn't really look after them.

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Ken Barlow moved in with him and Albert gradually saw Ken Barlow as "the son he never had".

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Ken Barlow had a largely antagonistic relationship with his "acid-tongued" mother-in-law Blanche, Deirdre's mother, who has been described as a "thorn in Ken Barlow's side".

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Ken Barlow urged him to be true to himself and ignore his father's bigoted views.

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Ken Barlow was grateful for the chance to get to know him better.

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Ken Barlow sees James as his "intellectual match", and has a lot of respect for him because he is a "well-educated, erudite young man".

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Ken Barlow became carried away and moved him in because Ken has always "longed for intelligent conversation".

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The first fight between the pair occurred in 1986, when Ken Barlow confronted Mike in his factory about Mike's maltreatment of his daughter.

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In March 2017, Ken Barlow was at the centre of a "whodunit" storyline which saw an unknown assailant push him down the stairs of his house after striking him over the head with a blunt object.

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In February 2011 Ken Barlow was among various Coronation Street characters to have his portrait auctioned for charity in the exhibition 'Behind the Street' at Manchester's Generation Pop Gallery.

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The highest bid on a photograph was for a shot of Ken Barlow, standing amongst rubble after the Weatherfield tram crash in 2010, a storyline marking the show's 50th anniversary.

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In 2010 ITV began selling Coronation Street merchandise featuring Ken Barlow, including gift wrap and novelty congratulations cards.

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Ken Barlow has been spoofed by Jon Culshaw in The Impressions Show, where he is having a secret affair with Pat Evans from EastEnders, spoofed by Debra Stephenson.

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In November 2010, Ken Barlow surpassed Bob Hughes from US soap opera As the World Turns to become the longest-serving soap opera actor.

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That we have been able to watch the evolution of that young man into the Ken Barlow we know today, no less self-righteous but with 50 years of experiences behind him, is frankly one of the wonders of British television.

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Brian Viner has suggested that it is remarkable that Ken Barlow has been labelled boring in spite of the many plots he has been involved with over the years.

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Ken Barlow came second in the poll, behind EastEnders Den Watts.

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Holy Soap suggested that Ken Barlow being labelled a gigolo in the local newspaper after his client, Babs, died halfway through eating her meal, was his most memorable moment.

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Ken Barlow noted that although Ken had many relationships, "he could hardly be described as an early 'Dirty Den'", a character notable for his womanising in the soap opera EastEnders.

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