Bill Roache has hinted Coronation Street's Ken Barlow will soon have a new love interest.
The 86-year-old actor is yet to sit down for a chat with incoming 'Corrie' series producer Iain MacLeod, who is making the move from 'Emmerdale' to the rival ITV soap, but has dropped a huge hint that the conversation could revolve around Ken hooking up with a new woman.
When Lorraine Kelly suggested Ken could be set to get a new love interest, Bill replied: "Ken has had 23 girlfriends and three wives. We've got a new producer coming in and he'll be handling our 60th anniversary, which is in two years' time.
"I haven't had my interview with the producer yet."
Lorraine mentioned Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) as a potential suitor for Ken, and Bill replied "well..." before laughing.
While Bill - who has played Ken since the first ever 'Corrie' episode in December 1960 - is keen to remain in Weatherfield for as long as possible, he hinted it is not a foregone conclusion that the soap's bosses will want his character to stick around on the cobbles.
He said: "I've been in it for 58 years. My goal now is to be the first 100 year old still working in a serial.
"Providing they want me. I'm very lucky to have this job. I really appreciate 'Coronation Street', I'm very grateful to it and I love it very much."
Ken was pushed down the stairs last year by a mystery aggressor, who turned out to be his son Daniel Osbourne (Rob Mallard), but the initial plan was for the character to be shot, and Bill feared for his future on the show.
Speaking on ITV's 'Lorraine', he added: "When I had my interview with Kate Oates, who is just leaving, she said, 'Bill, you're going to have a stroke, and then you're going to be shot.'
"I thought, 'Before we go on, do I recover from all of this?' She said, 'Yes, it's to bring the family in.' I wasn't shot, I was pushed down the stairs in the end.
"The new producer will have his view and we'll have a chat, so who knows?"