Coronation Street’s Bill Roache says he can ‘feel’ Anne Kirkbride’s spirit on soap’s set

Bill, 86, starred alongside Anne on the cobbles for 41 years, with the on-screen couple's fiery relationship at the centre of many of the soap's major storylines.

Speaking to the Radio Times, the actor said: "Even now, I can still feel her around. It’s very powerful, particularly at the Barlows, where Ken and Deirdre were called upon to do a lot of crying and shouting.”

“But I know all is well for her. And you get to the point where you can think about the happy times and enjoy them.”

“She’s only ever a thought away – love is a great connector.”

Bill reflected fondly on the time they worked together, continuing: “I can say to Annie: ‘Didn’t we have a great time?’

Bill, 86, starred alongside Anne on the cobbles for 41 years

“They love it if you become happy again and think about them in a loving way.”

The star also has revealed his last words to Anne before her death.

He was at her bedside the night the 60-year-old died in January 2015.

In an extract from his new autobiography revealed by the Mirror, Bill wrote: "She was unconscious, sedated with morphine, but she had a glow that seemed to come from within.

The iconic couple were loved by Corrie fans for four decades"I held her hand. I felt a tremor and hoped that was a sign she knew I was with her. I thanked her for everything.

"'Goodbye, Annie,' I said. 'You know you’re going to a beautiful place.'"

He added: "With Annie, it felt like being married in a parallel life – Ken and Deirdre – even though we’d go our separate ways in the evenings.

"Annie and I were kindred spirits in many ways."

Bill met Anne in 1972 when she auditioned for a part in Coronation Street when she was just 17 years old.

They spent the next four decades working together, as Anne made the country fall in love with Deirdre.

And who could forget about the infamous Ken-Deidre-Mike love triangle, Deirdre's stint in prison and her first marriage to Ken which was watched by 24million people.

Anne's death signalled the end of Deirdre and Ken’s on-screen marriage after she lost her battle with cancer.

Bill claimed to have been visited by Anne on set the day after she died.

He said in 2015: "I walked towards that set, I felt her presence because she did have an incredible presence.

“I saw her the day she died, she died in the evening on the Monday and I went that afternoon and I was warned she’d lost a lot of weight.

“When I saw her, she’d lost some weight but it had all gone back onto her beautiful bone structure and she looked beautiful, really beautiful and she was a very, very beautiful woman but she had no vanity.

“She wanted to be robust, crude, rude, whatever you wanted there were no laws or limitations for Annie. She lived life to the full but she was an extraordinary beautiful person inside and out.”

Life and Soul, by William Roache goes on sale from next Tuesday.

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