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Kenneth William Farrington
18 April 1936
Dulwich, London, England
Kenneth William Farrington (born 18 April 1936) is an English actor. He first came to fame playing the role of Billy Walker, wayward son of publican Annie, in ITV's long-running soap opera, Coronation Street. Following a brief period as a film actor, Farrington secured the role of Tom King in Emmerdale. After the character's high-profile death in December 2006, Farrington retired as an actor.
Farrington was born in Dulwich, South London, and attended Alleyn's School. He was married to actress Patricia Heneghan from 1961 to 1981; they have two children. He was taught by Michael Croft, who advised him not to take up acting as a professional.
Farrington's first major role was as Jack Marvel in the 1960 series, The Splendid Spur, but he came to prominence playing the role of Billy Walker, wayward son of publican Annie, in ITV's long-running soap opera, Coronation Street, having previously been considered for the role of Jed Stone. He joined the series in 1961, continuing in the role on and off until leaving the show for good in 1984.
Farrington played long-suffering Chief Inspector Teal's right-hand man in the TV series The Saint, and also appeared in episodes of The Avengers, Redcap and Z-Cars. He appeared in films such as Submarine X-1 (1968) and Party Party (1983). Farrington worked with the Manchester Drama Group, with whom cast members of Coronation Street often performed in the 1970s.
In 1974, he directed Anne Kirkbride in a lunchtime production of David Halliwell's Muck from Three Angles at the Grapes Hotel in Quay Street. Kirkbride's character in the soap, Deirdre, was a love interest of Billy Walker around this time.
Beginning in 1997 he played the continuing role of Jack Gates, father of Hart family matriarch Annie Hart (played by Liz Crowther), in the soap opera Family Affairs. His character was killed off in late 1998 (several weeks prior to the entire Hart family being killed off) as part of a drastic revamp of that series.
In 2004, Farrington joined the ITV soap opera Emmerdale, playing the character Tom King. After three years in the role, he announced his departure on 8 August 2006. Speaking about his decision to quit the show, Farrington said: "I originally came to Emmerdale for just six months and I have ended up staying for three years. Even during my 25 years at Coronation Street, two years at a time was my longest stint. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Emmerdale but feel it is time to move on."
Emmerdale series producer Kathleen Beedles said: "Ken has been an asset to the show and will be greatly missed but his exit storyline is going to be extremely dramatic and memorable for viewers, which we're very excited about."
Farrington was written out in dramatic fashion in an episode which aired on Christmas Day 2006 which saw his character being pushed to his death from a bedroom window.
- One Way Pendulum (1965) - Stan
- The Knack ...and How to Get It (1965) - Guardsman (uncredited)
- Robbery (1967) - Seventh Robber
- Submarine X-1 (1969) - C.P.O. Boker Knowles
- Party Party (1983) - Dad
- Beatrice Cox (1961). Exploring the arts. Longacre Press. p. 1998.
- Hilary Kingsley (1989). Soap Box: The Australian Guide to Television Soap Operas. Sun Books. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-7251-0573-0.
- Simon Farquhar "Anne Kirkbride: 'Coronation Street' stalwart across five decades entrusted with some of its most dramatic storylines", The Independent, 20 January 2015
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