Bill Roache – Coronation Street’s longest serving soap star – has reportedly been written out of new episodes after falling ill.
The 88-year-old has appeared in the soap as Ken Barlow since the first episode was broadcast in 1960, apart from a break
It means writers for the show have had to come up with a storyline to eplain his absence.
Bill hasn’t actually been seen on the show since March 10.
He asked for time off, according to an insider, and it is not known when he will return.
A source told The Sun: “The reason he’s been able to work for so long and so passionately is he’s always looked after himself, and he still does, so he’ll be back as soon as it makes sense.”
They added: “But because he asked for a break, the writers had to formulate a storyline around him to keep his character out completely for quite some time.
“They already have ideas for how they would like to bring Ken back in later this summer — and everyone will be pleased to see him, along with the rest of the cast back together in the same place.”
Speaking on the soap’s 60th anniversary, Bill said he has no plans to retire.
He said: “I don’t even like to think about how they’d write Ken out if I did leave, because hopefully that is never going to happen.”
Coronation Street airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on ITV