'Coronation Street' fans were left stunned last night (17.10.16) when Ken Barlow suffered a stroke.
The long-standing character - who is played by Bill Roache - keeled over in his house as he was leaving to go on holiday after having a row with his returning son Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) - but the actor admitted he was "thrilled to bits" when he found out about the storyline.
He said: "I think [show boss] Kate Oates is absolutely wonderful, and when she told me about this I was absolutely thrilled to bits."
Ken's stroke will lead to his grandson Adam Barlow and son Daniel Osbourne returning to Weatherfield to be at his side.
Bill added: "The Barlows have always been female led with Blanche and Deirdre and Tracy, and suddenly it's four males.
"They have a scene round the bed in the hospital and I actually felt this sense of family. It's actually very exciting, and I hope we'll be like a mafia family - we in-fight like crazy, and if anybody else attacks us, bang, we'll go out and get them!
"But I'm loving it to bits, having been in the show for 56 years, and being 84 years old I'm very fortunate to have a very vital and vibrant story.
"It's not a one-off, it's an organic process, hand grenades going off all the time, and can go on for years."
Bill admitted when he first read the script he feared he was getting the sack.
He said: "When I found out about the storyline, I didn't feel paranoid about my health, but I did feel paranoid about my job," says Bill. "The first thing I asked was 'do I get better?'."
Viewers will have to stay tuned to see whether Ken makes a full recovery or not.