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Ken Barlow leaves the Corrie cobbles

But thankfully William Roache isn't leaving the soap which tonight (7th February) celebrated its 10,000th episode and will celebrate its 60th anniversary later this year.

Millions of Coronation Street fans were shocked tonight to see Ken Barlow make the heartbreaking decision to leave the cobbles for pastures new.

After much soul searching Ken decided the time has come to leave Number 1 Coronation Street, the house that has been home for most of his life.

Just before the credits rolled on the historical 10000th episode of the world’s longest running drama serial, the man who was in the very first episode in 1960 bid a fond farewell to his ‘old friend’ the cobbles to move away with girlfriend Claudia Colby.

But fans needn’t worry that this is the last they will see of him, actor William Roache is not leaving the show. Ken will move out of number one and away from the street but future episodes will follow Ken and Claudia’s new life at Still Waters Luxury retirement complex, whilst back in Weatherfield Tracy and Peter Barlow will battle over who gets to move into the most famous house on the street.

In Monday night’s episodes, Ken and Claudia will break the news to the family about their decision to sell up and live a quieter life at Still Waters.

Tracy immediately has her eye on the prize, and despite Carla’s lack of enthusiasm Peter decides to fight his sister for the house - both of them wanting it at a knockdown price.

As Ken despairs at his warring family it confirms he is making the right decision to leave and next month viewers will see him and Claudia move into the luxurious development complete with cocktail bar, book club and even fencing lessons

Ken is delighted to discover that his old friends Norris and Freda are already settled in to life at Still Waters but when he crosses swords with fellow resident Charles played by Michael Elwyn it looks as though there may be just as much drama as there was on the cobbles.

Will Ken and Claudia take to their new life and who will be the proud new owners of number 1 Coronation Street?

Speaking about the new storyline, William Roache said “This is a big decision for Ken but in some ways he thinks it is now or never. He has lived on the same street his whole life and in the same house for most of it."

"He feels that he had a chance to move away with Martha on the barge but he let her go. Part of him regretted that. He doesn’t want to make the same mistake again and Claudia is very persuasive. Filming that final scene of the episode was very poignant, just Ken and Eccles 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. We have already started filming at the retirement complex and I am really enjoying it, it always feels different when we film away from the street."

“It seems fitting that Ken makes this decision in the 10,000th episode but it will be strange not filming in number 1 after all this time.”

Coronation Street continues Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV


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