Bill Roache the actor behind Coronation Street legend Ken Barlow has revealed the long-running ITV soap initially had an entirely different name before it was ridiculed by the tea lady.

The 89-year-old actor, who turns 90 next week, was speaking ahead of a new ITV special documentary dedicated to his career on the cobbles which has spanned decades.

Roache has been a regular on the soap for more than 60 years and holds a Guinness World Record for the longest-running TV soap star.

The documentary, Happy Birthday Bill, commissioned by ITV to celebrate his life and career as he reaches the milestone birthday, will air tonight at 8pm.

ITV Coronation Street’s original name revealed

Speaking about the original name of the soap he said: “It was called Florizel Street when we started rehearsing and everything. I remember coming in the room and saying Flor-aI-zel and a groan went up.

“Apparently a lot of people had been not liking it and one of the cleaners had said it sounded like a sanitary detergent. So, the producer came in and said right, ‘I don’t care what name you’ve got, so long as it’s Coronation Street."

He added: “My agent persuaded me to come up and do the pilot.“ He said, ‘You’re not working, you’ve got nothing on, you might as well do it.’ And this is the contract. Wow, £21.”

One story passed down through the years was that Granada's tea lady, Agnes, mocked 'Florizel Street', saying it sounded like disinfectant. Another rumour is that Agnes said that 'Florizel Street' sounded too much like Izal, a common toilet paper brand at the time.

Happy Birthday Bill airs on ITV and ITV Hub on April 19 at 8pm, with Coronation Street airing in the same time slot on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.