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  1. ITV Report

Ken Barlow to leave Coronation Street but not the show as soap celebrates 10,000th episode

  • Video report by ITV News correspondent Damon Green

Coronation Street have marked their 10,000th show in dramatic fashion, shocking millions of viewers as Ken Barlow made the decision to leave the street.

Just before the credits rolled on Friday's special one-hour episode Ken - played by William Roache since 1960 - said he was leaving the cobbles.

But fans of the soap need not be too worried, the long-running character might be leaving the street, but he's not leaving the show.

The character appeared in the first episode of Coronation Street in 1960. Credit: ITV

Britain's most popular soap has been running for almost 60 years on ITV with Ken Barlow appearing in the first episode.

The first-ever scene of the programme back in 1960 began with two girls singing a nursery rhyme, which was replicated in the 10,000th episode.

In the final scene of the hour-long special, Ken reveals he's set to leave the 1 Coronation Street to move away with his girlfriend Claudia Colby - played by Rula Lenska - to a nearby retirement complex.

Ken reveals he's set to to move away with his girlfriend Claudia Colby. Credit: ITV

William Roache said the move was a "big decision" for his character, the 87-year-old said it would feel "strange not filming in number 1 after all this time.

He said: "Filming that final scene of the episode was very poignant, just Ken and Eccles (his pet dog) and the cobbles.

"He breaks the news to the family next week and they are surprised but very soon Peter and Tracy start squabbling over who will be given first refusal on the house."

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Roache has played Ken since Corrie's first episode on December 9 1960 - earning him a place in The Guinness World Records as the longest-serving male television star in a continuous role.

The veteran character is well known to fans as the long-term on screen husband of Deidre Barlow played by the late Anne Kirkbride.

William Roache pays tribute to Anne Kirkbride on stage during the 2015 National Television Awards at the O2 Arena, London. Credit: PA

In Friday's hour-long special, the cast took a trip to Blackpool in order to scatter Dennis Tanner's ashes.

Patti Clare, who plays Mary Taylor, told ITV News: "I love things like that, you can just weave in nods to the past and I think this episode does that very well."

Coronation Street's famous cobbles are still in place today, even if the filming site has moved from its original as the drama maintains its popularity.

Filming for the soap has moved from the original 1960 site. Credit: ITV

Hosting a soap in Manchester was a new concept back in 1960 when regional accents were rarely heard on the television.

"You've got to remember always what it felt like when it first burst onto the screen - nobody on television spoke like us," Maureen Lipman, who plays Evelyn Plummer, told ITV News.

There has been plenty of drama in the first 10,000 episodes but things do not seem to be slowing down on the country's most famous street as their prepare for their latest milestone.