Lending an ear . . . Corrie's Roache seeks star qualities
EVERGREEN 'Coronation Street' star William Roache revealed yesterday he has suffered from a profound hearing problem throughout his career and had to rely on visual prompts from his fellow actors.
Looking two decades younger than his 79 years, the man who plays Weatherfield's Ken Barlow said: "The other actors have always looked out for me but the last few years, my hearing has become much worse and I have found myself becoming more and more isolated off-set.
"It's led to me suffering in silence, putting up with mishearing conversations and feeling left out."
Roache, who has been on the soap for all of its 51 years said he had no plans to retire.
In Dublin yesterday to launch Specsavers Sound Barrier Star Awards, he said he damaged his hearing while on national service in England 57 years ago.
Out on a firing range Roache, then a second lieutenant, was caught up in a mortar bomb explosion after another young soldier accidentally exploded a charge.
"The blast left me completely deaf for a while," he said.
"I did regain some hearing but just 50pc. Luckily I couldn't have ended up in a better job.
"As an actor, both you and the people you're talking to, speak in scripted lines, and actors speak clearly anyway," he said.
Having overcome hearing difficulties throughout his career, the father-of-four said he fully supported the Sound Barrier Star Awards which seek to recognise the achievement and courage of people who are hard of hearing or deaf.
Anyone can nominate themselves, a friend or a family member, by visiting a Specsavers shop or download a form via www.specsavers.ie/hearing.