Joanna Lumley's Coronation Street character had an affair with Ken Barlow
20 April 2022, 12:19
Who did Joanna Lumley play in Coronation Street? And what happened with Bill Roache? Here's what we know...
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Coronation Street fans might remember when Joanna Lumley appeared on the soap all the way back in 1973.
Her character Elaine Perkins may have only appeared in eight episodes at the time, but she embarked on a steamy affair with Ken Barlow, played by Bill Roache.
Elaine was the daughter of the school headmaster and bonded with Ken at a teaching function.
Their romance was going strong until Ken got jealous of her politician boyfriend and confessed his love.
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The pair ended up getting into an almighty row and Elaine branded him a "still provincial twit".
Joanna has since spoken about her time on Corrie in her 2011 book, Absolutely: A Memoir where she joked her "hopes were dashed to smithereens" when she wasn’t given a permanent role.
"Maybe I would be so compelling that they would write me a permanent part and I could pop into the Rover's Return and get Ken his tea," she wrote.
"But they had other plans for the hero of The Street and I was just a distraction for a mad month of his life."
Opening up about her storyline with Ken, she continued: "He asked me, Elaine Perkins, to marry him but being an idiot I turned him down (I had to; it was in the script).
"And a month later I was back in London with a clutch of letters I had written to every repertory company in the land asking for a job as an assistant or tea-maker or understudy."
Bill, who still plays Ken in the ITV soap, has also spoken about his short lived on-screen relationship with Joanna, but has refused to confirm whether they ever had a romance off the show.
He told the Daily Mail in 2012: "She was beautiful, sensitive, humorous, clever. She had everything. I found her very attractive. She elevated things.
"I’m not saying whether I did or didn’t have anything with Joanna, but interestingly she has since become Mrs Barlow [she is married to musician Stephen Barlow]."
Joanna went back to the cobbles in her ITV series Home Sweet Home where she was reunited with Bill.
There are only 60 days to go until Coronation Street's 60th Anniversary!— Coronation Street (@itvcorrie) October 11, 2020
We're celebrating each day with a series of very special messages.
To launch #60For60 with a touch of class, here's the absolutely fabulous Joanna Lumley.#Corrie60 #Corrie @itv @WeAreSTV pic.twitter.com/vpoVgo6SpZ
When asked if he was married, he replied "No, I'm available."
Joanna later admitted: "And for Bill to be so sweet, we were both outrageously flirting with each other and pretending to be the geriatrics that we are."
Back in January, Joanna shared a video wishing Corrie a happy 60th birthday.
She said: "I can hardly believe I'm saying this – I'm saying happy birthday to Coronation Street for 60 years," she says.
"It's unbelievable and what makes it even more unbelievable (is) that I, Elaine Perkins, who is never allowed in the Rovers Return, am now behind here, holding up my glass and saying to you all, the cast and crew then and now, 'Happy happy birthday'.
"A thousand congratulations, and in my heart I shall always be part of Corrie.
"Bless you sweethearts, cheers! I know how to pull pints now!"