Playing my own dad in The Road To Coronation Street

Thursday 16 September 2010, 16:15

James Roache James Roache Actor

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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.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

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

  • rate this

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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!


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