Coronation Street: Ken and Rita learn Norris has died
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On Wednesday night’s double episode of Coronation Street, ITV viewers were thrilled to see the return of Ken Barlow (played by Bill Roache) and Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox). The programme saw Ken and Rita reunite as they discussed their friend Norris (Malcolm Hebden) who told his pal he wanted to speak with him. However, just minutes into the first instalment, fans became concerned with Ken’s appearance.
Earlier this year, Bill took some time off from the ITV soap after he contracted COVID-19.
Fans feared the 89-year-old wouldn’t return to the cobbles following his illness.
Despite speculation, a spokesperson for Bill confirmed the star had “recovered well”.
They said: “Following recent reports about his health, William Roache has asked us to clarify that he took time off work after testing positive for Covid.
“He has recovered well and is looking forward to returning to the cobbles as soon as possible.”
Taking to Twitter following Monday’s episode, many fans took to social media to question whether the actor was okay.
Christabel asked: “Ken doesn’t sound well. Long covid??”
“Ken seems really frail,” Andi pointed out as Joy replied: “Looks good for 89 though.”
“Is Ken, ok?” Angela asked as Sheila wrote: “Ken’s changed a lot.”
Jacob said: “It’s great to see Ken and Rita back on the cobbles, but what is wrong with Ken’s speech? Is he OK?”
“Ken has lost that much weight,” @gffcontwitch said.
Other viewers were delighted to see Ken and Rita back on their screens.
Emma commented: “Awww Rita & Ken are back!! Can’t beat the street elders!”
Phil added: “Great to see Ken again. One of the more believable characters.”
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As the first episode came to an end, Ken found out his friend Norris was in hospital.
As he and Rita discussed Norris coming to visit them while in the Rovers, Ken decided to give his pal a call.
However, things soon took a turn when Norris wasn’t the one to answer the phone call.
A paramedic told Ken that Norris had been rushed to hospital.
Although, when they reached the hospital, it was too late, as they were told poor Norris had passed away from a stroke.
“Which ward is he on?” Ken asked Freda Burgess (Ali Briggs) as Rita chipped in: “Can we see him?”
“Norris passed away just a short while ago,” she replied.
“I just can’t take it in,” Rita sobbed.
Ken replied: “The fragility of life, all our lives. We don’t know when our number is going to be called, do we?”
Turning to Doreen, he continued: “He was desperate to tell me something before he died, any idea what?”
“He was convinced Claudia and Charles were having an affair,” she replied.
Coronation Street continues Friday on ITV.
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