Official statement from the ITV press office
Legendary actor William Roache MBE celebrates 60 years in
Coronation Street on 9 December 2020. To mark the occasion,
Coronation Street has commissioned Manchester based
classical portrait painter, Michael Koropisz, to paint a portrait of Bill which will hang in pride of place in his Cheshire home. Michael specialises in grand, elegant portraits of notable figures who commission his work for their own homes or private collections.
The portrait was unveiled live earlier today (30 November) on ITV’s This Morning as TV reporter Sharon Marshall interviewed Bill about his Coronation Street career, retaining his status as the longest serving actor in a continuing drama in the world and how he only ever expected to play Ken Barlow in the Manchester based programme for 6 weeks!
Adhering to the Government’s health and safety guidelines for TV production, Bill was filmed by This Morning unveiling the portrait which Michael was able to paint during lockdown. Fortunately, Bill had undertaken sittings for Michael in January and February of this year, which meant Michael had already made important decisions about how he was to capture Bill.
In keeping with social distancing guidelines, 25 year old Michael, who achieved a Fine Art and Art History degree in 2018, taught himself to paint in the traditional style whilst studying at the Manchester School of Art. He was present in Bill’s garden to see first-hand the reaction to his work.
Commented William Roache: “I cannot thank ITV enough for their wonderful anniversary gift. It is an honour to have a portrait painted and is always a joyful reminder of my sixty years in Coronation Street, something that I will always treasure. Thank you, ITV, and artist Michael Koropisz.”
Commented Michael Koropisz: “I am so grateful to have received this prestigious opportunity. This has been a great experience, not only because of its significance, but because it led to a wonderful, unprecedented, life-long friendship with myself, William and his family. I would also like to thank everyone at Coronation Street for their support and send my congratulations. And to William I send my compliments with this message – “William, I lay the first stroke of paint as your artist, and the last as your friend. Here’s to the 60 years!”
Bill’s portrait was commissioned by the Coronation Street production team overseen by Managing Director for Continuing Drama and Head of ITV in the North, John Whiston.
Commented John Whiston: “Bill Roache has been the essence of Coronation Street for 60 years so what better way to capture the essence of Bill than in a specially commissioned portrait. The portrait will celebrate on canvas the fact that Bill appeared in the very first episode of Coronation Street and is still going strong today and will be a fitting tribute to someone who has inspired and welcomed to the show many generations of new actors.”