Ab Fab star Helen Lederer lands Corrie guest role as Ken Barlow's potential new love interest

Helen Lederer will appear in Coronation Street on Wednesday March 27 on ITV1 and ITVX credit:Bang Showbiz
Helen Lederer will appear in Coronation Street on Wednesday March 27 on ITV1 and ITVX credit:Bang Showbiz

Helen Lederer can understand why her 'Coronation Street' character has fallen for Ken Barlow.

The 69-year-old actress will appear in the guest role of Elspeth on the ITV1 soap opera and her character will catch the eye of "silver fox" Ken (William Roache) - who has appeared since the show's very first episode aired on 9 December 1960 - when the pair both attend a a singles cocktail night at the Chariot Square Hotel in scenes that will air later this month.

Asked what it was like to work with Bill, 91, she said: "Well I can see why Elspeth is interested in him, he is a real silver fox with very chiselled cheekbones!

"I was very conscious of all the history. There's a certain pedigree and I'm very respectful of that. What really struck me was how dignified they were, and also having the grace to connect with a new person, they took time with me and I went away thinking what nice people."

Early on in the serial, Ken initially tied the knot with Valerie Tatlock (Anne Reid) and had Peter (Chris Gascoyne) and the late Susan (Suzy Paterson) with her but that marriage came to an end when she suffered a fatal electrocution from a faulty hairdryer in 1971.

He then married Deirdre Hunt (Anne Kirkbride) in 1981 and adopted her daughter Tracy (Kate Ford) and although they survived her infamous affair with Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs), they divorced in 1992 following his own affair with Wendy Crozier (Roberta Kerr).

The pair remarried in 2005 - by which time Ken had also fathered Daniel Osbourne (Rob Mallard) with former flame Denise Osbourne (Denise Black) and was yet to discover he had a son called Lawrence (Linus Roache) from his 1961 tryst with Susan Cunningham - but Deirdre died off-screen in July 2015, following Anne Kirkbride's own death earlier that year.

Former 'Absolutely Fabulous' star Helen makes her only scheduled appearance in the soap in late March when Elspeth gets Ken's attention by sending drinks over to his table, where he is joined by son-in-law Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson), but admitted that she would "most definitely" be up for a longer stint on the soap if the opportunity should come about.

She said: "The answer to that is ‘most definitely’. Ken had Steve to deal with but he was certainly interested in her. He definitely made sure he got her number, he initiated it. So who knows one day he might actually call her and I can come back to Weatherfield."

Helen will appear in the episode on Wednesday March 27 on ITV1 and ITVX