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Tuesday 6 December 2022

William Roache interview: Will Ken choose Wendy or Martha?

Ken has seemed happy starting a relationship with Wendy again, so why is it that Martha’s arrival has stirred things up?

It's interesting, going back historically the two lifestyles they offered him were very different but he’s very fond of both of them. At the time he loved Wendy and then later on he loved Martha. Wendy has come back into his life and they’ve realised they still have the same feelings for each other and now Martha coming back on the scene has complicated the issue. He doesn't know how she's going to feel about him after the way he left her, he’s embarrassed about that and he doesn't know if either of them are going to have the same feelings. Whereas with Wendy he does know as they've already said it to each other, so he is concerned about Martha now arriving at this time.

What is it about these two women that he’s drawn to, do they both offer him something different?

Yes, he’s physically attracted to them both obviously and he did love them both but they offer two very different lifestyles. Wendy is giving him his current lifestyle, slippers and cocoa, supper in front of the television and all that. Whereas Martha is offering him the life that he always dreamed about, the life of being with intellectuals and writers in London, the theatre and all those things that he himself wanted. So that's where the dichotomy for Ken is, he's torn between two women, there’s no doubt about the fact he loves both of them, but one offers him his current comfortable lifestyle and the other offers him the life that he dreamed of.

So when Martha suggests Ken goes to Hull with her how does he react?

Well, first of all he's absolutely surprised because it's a repetition of before when she asked him to come away on the barge and go to London. And so he's very flattered and very surprised that she asks him to do that. But of course it opens up that whole dichotomy for Ken of these two lifestyles, the one he currently has which is good and the one he dreams about. To have Martha again offer him that lifestyle is beyond his dreams so he’s obviously very interested and it hits him deeply. The writers have been very clever here because you can see both sides. In the past there was Deirdre on the scene and she was the big pull to Weatherfield but now he’s free and it’s just a choice between Wendy and Martha. He doesn't know what to do and quite honestly neither do I. If he goes with Martha I’ll leave the street and that would be a pretty big upheaval now! 

Where do you think Ken’s heart really lies?

I think he does want his home comforts at this stage in his life and everything that Wendy offers, that’s where his heart is now. However, although his heart may be there though his dreams are definitely with Martha.

Who do you think Ken should be with? Who do you think he’s most suited to?

He really does love them both, years ago he was going to leave Deirdre for Martha, it was that powerful, but in the end he realised he wasn't up to the lifestyle that he dreamed of, and I think the same situation is occurring again. He does really love both of them, there's no doubt about that, and this is why he doesn't tell either one about the other which at the end of the day is a very dangerous game.

Were you shocked to hear that Ken was going to be returning to his lothario ways?

No, it's much deeper than that, he genuinely loves these people and he was always looking for a solid, loving life, that was what he wanted, he just failed many times which made him look like a lothario. He really loves Martha, there's no doubt about that, and he really dreams of that lifestyle. But then he really loves Wendy and she would continue this comfortable life with him. So the decision that the writers have presented him with is the same but without Deirdre in the background. He does dream about this lifestyle with Martha, it’s as strong as it ever was, so it’s very interesting to play.

Can he get things right this time with the wisdom of age and experience? 

Ken’s dreams are still there and they’re offered to him again, they don’t go away with age, so it’s a big decision to make. The only difference is Deirdre isn’t there and he’s moved on in years. The writers have done a very clever thing, they’ve brought back two very beautiful women who Ken loves very much and yet he could risk losing them both.

Have you enjoyed revisiting these storylines and working with Roberta and Stephanie again?

Yes very much, I cannot tell you how delighted I was when this story came up, I thought the way the writers have handled the history has been really wonderful. To be acting again with Stephanie and Roberta has been a wonderful experience. I've really enjoyed the whole thing, it took me back as well. One of the great things about Coronation Street running for 62 years is that it can draw on its own history. This is exactly what's happening here for Ken and it's happening in a way that’s as similar as it could have been in its day so it's been a very interesting thing to do. I love working with Stephanie and Roberta, they're both wonderful.

Glenda Young
Twitter: @Flaming_Nora
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