TAX ARREARS – Coronation Street’s Bill Roache is facing bankruptcy for a second time, as HMRC launched action to take him to court over tax arrears.
The actor, 91, who has played Ken Barlow on the ITV soap since 1960 when he was paid just £70 a week, is now the highest-paid member of the cast, earning around £250k a year.
HMRC said it does ‘not comment on individual cases’, but a spokesperson said: ‘We take a supportive approach to dealing with customers who have tax debts, and do everything we can to help those who engage with us to get out of debt, such as offering instalment plans.
‘We only petition for bankruptcy as a last resort.’
A spokesperson for Coronation Street said: ‘We’re really sorry to hear of Bill’s financial situation. Bill has an ongoing contract with Coronation Street and remains a much-loved member of the cast.’
Details of the Tax
Papers were lodged against the father-of-five at London’s High Court on Tuesday, and details of the cause of the tax debt remained confidential.
The First Time Bill Went Bankrupt
At the end of the nineties Bill ended up bankrupt following a libel battle with The Sun for calling him ‘boring Ken Barlow’.
He won the case but was judged to have wasted court time with the law suit and was awarded only £50,000, the amount the paper had offered him to settle out of court.
How it Ended for Him
He was left with huge legal bills which he compounded with the decision to sue his lawyers over the case, landing him in up to £600,000 of debt.
63 Years and Counting
It was reported in December last year that Bill has signed on to star in Coronation Street for another 12 months, marking his 63rd year on the soap.
The actor, 91, has played Ken Barlow on the ITV soap since it debuted back in 1960 when he was paid £70 a week.
The Record he Holds
He holds the world record for the longest-serving TV actor in a continuous role and is even listed in the Guinness World Records.
Bill previously said he wanted to still be on the soap at 100 years old.
The Goal he set
Last year he reportedly said: ‘Someone said to me, ‘Look, Bill, you’re in the Guinness Book of Records, you’ve got the MBE, you’ve been in Coronation Street for over 60 years, what else is there?’
‘I said to him, ‘I would like to be the first centenarian who is still cast in an ongoing drama’. That’s my aim, to be 100 and still working on Coronation Street.’
‘While they want me and while I can do it I’ll continue to do it.’
Bill has also said: ‘People will say when are you retiring? Are you going to take a break? But then what happens?
‘Whilst I can do it, and whilst they will have me, I have no intention of retiring. I am so fortunate to work for an organisation that is happy to have me.’
Last December, Bill was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by King Charles for his services to acting following more than 60 years on Corrie.
Bill, who was previously awarded an MBE, revealed the hilarious reaction of King Charles, who playfully asked: ‘Not still working are you?’