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Playing my own dad in The Road To Coronation Street

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James Roache James Roache | 15:15 UK time, Thursday, 16 September 2010

I'm about to appear in a BBC Four drama about how Coronation Street started called The Road to Coronation Street, where I play my father, Bill Roache (who plays Ken Barlow in the soap) as a young man. I am about the same age as him when it started.

To get into the role I had some great chats with my dad about the good old days and how he was feeling at the time. He told me how excited he was about everything but that he was also very nervous, so I kept that in mind for the part.

James Roache as a younger version of his real- life father William Roache in The Road To Coronation Street

It has a great cast, and working with Celia Imrie, Jane Horrocks, Jessie Wallace, Christopher McKay and Shaun Dooley (to name a few) was such an honour. It was so inspiring to watch them at work.

It's also directed by Charles Sturridge, who is truly a genius. He is such a patient director and never fails to get breathtaking results.

One great memory of filming was my first day on set, and walking on I felt like I had gone back in time. Charles had created a very atmospheric environment and every prop was authentic to the era. Even the TV cameras they used back then were on set and operating.

Even if you're not a Coronation Street fan you'll still love this as it's a gripping story about a young man's determination to get his show out there on the TV despite what he is told. He fights for what he truly believes in. Mix that in with a cast of some of the best loved actors and brilliant directing and you've got the ingredients for an absolute stomper of a show.

As an actor, nerves always play a part which you learn to use to your advantage in your performance. Filming this definitely hit the nerves a bit. I wanted to make sure the part was evocative and accurate, of course for the production, but mainly for my father.

I also appear in Coronation Street, the soap, playing Ken Barlow's grandson. I had fun filming both roles, but it was quite a crazy experience playing my father's character's grandson, and then playing my father himself.

Lynda Baron as Violet Carson sits by an old camera in The Road To Coronation Street

But what made it even more confusing was that I filmed them both at the same time over a period of two weeks, so I would film one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

Luckily they were both filmed in the same location at ITV, so I only had to pop over next door. I really enjoyed it though, as I was doing what I love.

Anyway, I'll sign off now. I hope you enjoy The Road to Coronation Street and do let me know what you think.

James Roache plays William Roache in The Road To Coronation Street.

The Road To Coronation Street is on at 9pm on Thursday, 16 September on BBC Four.

The programme is part of Planet North, BBC Four's season of films celebrating the culture, history, life and architecture of northern England.


  • Comment number 1.

    really interesting blog, think you and your brother are gorgeous!

  • Comment number 2.

    Thanks for the insight into both roles.

    Genius bit of casting on the part of both the BBC and ITV. The chemistry between James, his half-brother Linus, and their father Bill was quite something. I understand all the scenes had to be crammed into just a couple of days, but that certainly doesn't show.

    Am looking forward to the telefilm as well. Read elsewhere that Antony Cotton (Sean)'s mother plays Agnes the tea lady who said she didn't like the sound of "Florizel Street" -- the original title for the show.

  • Comment number 3.

    I cannot speak too highly iof this program.I have been an avid follower of Coronation Street right from the first broadcast and have generally missed only those episodes which were transmitted while I was on holiday or out of the country - pre video recorders of course, although I was fairly early into the field with Philips N1500 and N1700.
    Tonight's broadcast was a real nostalgia trip and I loved every minute of it and even cried a little! The casting was inspired particularly Jesse Wallace as Elsie Tanner and Lynda Baron as Ena Sharples. I have had the best evening's entertainment that I can remember for a long long time. Thank you BBC. P.S. I also enjoyed recognising TV sets and studio equipment on the sets (and boring my wife about them), I was a TV Engineer from 1955 up until my retirement in 1995 and carried on doing a bit on my own account up until a year ago when ill health made me give it up. As I also had a number of friends in the broadcasting companies I have spent many hours'visiting' OB Vans during their visits to Blackpool for the 'Illuminations' and other special events.
    Thank you again for a most enjoyable evening.
    John C Priest.

  • Comment number 4.

    I've been looking forward to the 'Road to Corrie' for as long as I've known about it and it didn't disappoint, except to say that it didn't last long enough. Brilliant casting and wonderfully understated performances with no jarring bits. My congrats to all concerned and here's hoping there might be a follow-up.

    I caught only a couple of the episodes of Corrie with you in them James but I thought it all very well done. I hadn't twigged that you were part of the Roach family but in hindsight, I see it clearly now. LOL. Well done. Did your dad (Linus) disown you in the end?

    Andy... Isle of Wight.

  • Comment number 5.

    "My congrats to all concerned and here's hoping there might be a follow-up."

    Hahaha I had to laugh.

    Lets just say it picked up from where Tony left off and is still going in the present day!

  • Comment number 6.

    I think it would have made for very interesting tv for them to have reenacted the first episode, both on and off screen.

  • Comment number 7.

    I really enjoyed this drama especially being a fan of the soap. I have watched it more or less every week since about 1974 when I was 8. My Mum and dad were Northerners from Liverpool and Warrington respectively who had moved to the Midlands for work but not forgotten their roots.

    I thought all the actors were very well matched to the real actors, Jessie Wallace is brilliant as Pat Phoenix and also Lynda Baron as Violet Carson.

    Well done to David Dawson who played Tony Warren, I don't really remember him much apart from his name on the end credits.

    Again, well done!

  • Comment number 8.

    Road to Coronation St was top quality drama, Jesse Wallace and especially Lynda Baron where brilliant.
    Why has proper drama disapeared from the mainstream chanels?

  • Comment number 9.

    I'm not normally a fan of these dramatisations, but the Corrie drama was superb, the acting was spot on by all members of the cast, one of the best things I've watched in a while.
    The final piece in the jigsaw with the arrival of Violet Carson (aka Lynda Baron) was brilliant.

    I take my flat cap off to all concerned.

  • Comment number 10.

    Brilliant. Totally brilliant in every way - esp the casting!!!! David Dawson was exceptional. What a find!
    Surely a viewing on BBC 1 is inevitable???

    THe BBC can put up the license fee all they like if they continue to produce quality like this!

  • Comment number 11.

    A very good blog, James. It was interesting to note that you'd asked your Father about the role in 'Road to Coronation Street', it makes many of the lines more believable. You portray him very well, as you do his character's grandson in Coronation Street at the moment.

    It seems odd that Granada/ITV produced 'The Road to..." yet couldn't find anywhere on their own channels to show it: although I'm grateful that BBC FOUR commissioned it.

  • Comment number 12.

    As a fan of Corrie I've enjoyed your performance as Ken's grandson and thoroughly enjoyed the "Road to Coronation Street". Thanks for the blog, it's always interesting getting some inside info. I will watch the programme again on iPlayer while it's still available.

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi again, so glad to hear you enjoyed it and thank you for your kind
    words about it! It's also great to hear there are some hardcore Corrie
    fans like John Christian Priest and Bluemoaner1966, who liked it
    too...that's real credit to the drama!

    Also in response to paulwestside, luckily it wasn't quite as short as a
    couple of days, but yeah the whole thing was only shot over the space of
    a few weeks, which is a pretty short space of time for a drama - it
    takes someone like Charles to pull that off tho! Also for myself, as my
    episodes in Corrie coincidentally landed in the same week as my scenes
    in this, I had to jump from one to the other in the same day!! - crazy
    time, but fun! Anyway, I'll sign off now, but thank you again for all
    your feedback!


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