Bill Roache has returned to work on Coronation Street just ten days after his daughter Vanya passed away. The actor was granted compassionate leave by show bosses and told to take as much time off as he wanted, but Bill, 85, has made the decision to return. The TV star appeared to be in good spirits as he filmed scenes with his new on-screen baby granddaughter.
A Corrie source told The Sun: "Bill made it clear he wanted to be back at work, he's a total professional even after nearly 60 years on the show. But everyone was keen to make sure he is well looked after, and give him all the support they can to help with his transition back. The executives have told him to take a break whenever, but it was a lovely first day back on set because the storyline was really heartwarming with the new baby on set."
Bill sadly lost his daughter Vanya in March
Bill sadly lost his daughter Vanya in March; she died of liver failure, aged 50. It is the third time Bill has lost a close family member, following the sudden death of his second wife Sarah Mottram in 2009, at the age of 58. The couple's daughter Edwina died from pneumonia at just 18 months, in 1984.
MORE: Bill was 'close' to daughter Vanya
Vanya was Bill's eldest daughter from his first marriage to ex-wife Anna Cropper. The former couple, who were married from 1961 until 1974, are also parents to a son, actor Linus Roache. Bill married his second wife Sarah in 1978. They welcomed daughter Verity (born 1981) and son James, christened William (born 1985). Their third child, little Edwina, passed away from acute bronchial pneumonia.
MORE: Stars gone too soon
Bill has been playing Ken Barlow since 1960, making him the world's longest-serving male TV star in a continuous role. Just last month, he said he wants to keep working on Coronation Street for as long as he's physically able.