William "Billy" Walker was a character in Coronation Street intermittently from Episode 15 (27 Jan 1961) to Ep 2471 - 5 Dec 1984. The eldest child and only son of Jack and Annie Walker, Billy ran the pub for many years from 1970 to 1975 before moving to Jersey. Billy was always a bit of a rogue, a Jack The Lad but when he returned in 1984 to take over the tenancy of the The Rovers Return, his even nastier side surfaced when he began blackmailing Emily Bishop into lending her some money or he would tell everyone that she knew about Ken and Deirdre, and then goading Rovers cellarman Fred Gee into thumping him so he could sack him. He also held late night lock ins and kept cutting corners. Fred Gee and Mike Baldwin became his 2 biggest rivals during his 1984 stint. Carpeted by the brewery for cutting corners, Billy was forced out of The Rovers and returned to Jersey in December 1984, this time for good and has not been seen or heard from since. Billy was played by actor Ken Farrington.
William Walker was born on the 8th September 1938 at The Rovers Return, Coronation Street, Weatherfield. He was the eldest child of Jack Walker and Annie Walker (Nee Beaumont). His parents were not from Weatherfield originally, his dad was from Accrington in Lancashire and his mum from Clitheroe in Lancashire. Annie had some French and Scottish roots. Billy grew up in Coronation Street. Billy joined a local football team. He was an ambitious young man but also was a bit of a small time crook. In the late 1950s Billy did his National Service in the army.
1961-1979EditBilly Walker flitted between Weatherfield and London in the 1960s. In 1970 upon the death of his father Jack, Billy moved back to Weatherfield to help his mum run the pub. He still established himself as a small time crook and was into dodgy deals. In 1974 he sold Stuart Draper a car for £1000 when it was valued at just £400. Billy refused to take responsibility, saying the car was roadworthy. A police involvement after a fight between Billy and Draper made Draper unable to take any further action against Billy. Billy fought with Ray Langton over Deirdre Hunt. Billy left Weatherfield in May 1975 to run a pub in Jersey. Ray and Deirdre got together now that Billy was out of the picture.
In July 1975, Deirdre married Ray. Due to Billy moving away again, Annie felt vulnerable and after a robbery in late 1975, and Stan and Albert being trapped in the cellar overnight in March 1976, a live in potman, Fred Gee was hired.
Billy made sporadic returns in 1977, 1978 and 1979.
1984 Return to Weatherfield and later final departureEditAnnie Walker took an extended break in January 1984 and left Betty in charge. In March 1984, Billy was advised to take over the pub so returned to Weatherfield that month. He was reluctant at first to stay on running the pub but he soon settled back into life being the Rovers landlord for his mother while she was on her break. But Billy was stubborn and soon made himself unpopular as a landlord and barred Percy Sugden for giving him advice.
Billy then spread vicious rumours about Deirdre and Mike Baldwin as he found out about their affair. Billy then blackmailed Emily Bishop into lending him £6000. Mike Baldwin called his bluff when he chatted up a lady from Jersey who visited Billy who said that back in Jersey he was cooking the books and watering down spirits plus illegally respraying his car. Mike told Billy the police and licensing authorities will find out if he takes any money off Emily. Billy was beaten and laid off Emily, Mike and Deirdre. In August 1984, Billy was appointed landlord once his mother Annie decided to retire altogether.
Now that Billy was the new landlord, he planned for some big changes for The Rovers in August 1984. Billy's first ploy was to get rid of longterm cellarman Fred Gee. He claimed he could not afford to employ Fred anymore and claimed he was a potman and a that made him a casual labourer, so meaning Fred was not entitled to any compensation. Fred was actually legally entitled to compensation. Billy tried to fob him off with a few extra weeks pay but Fred wanted full compensation for the 8 years he had been there. Ken Barlow said to Billy that Fred has a good case. A disgruntled but crooked Billy wanted to do something quick to get rid of Fred without paying him anything. Billy found out how another landlord in the area had got rid of a cellarman without paying him compensation by goading him into thumping him so he could sack him. Billy thought that would be a good idea to use for Fred Gee, bait him into thumping him so he can sack him.
Billy then insulted Fred and worked him into the ground. He called Fred a berk and a skiver, and even grabbed his arm once. Jack Duckworth advised Fred to not take the bait so he could get about £2000. Billy carried on making life unbearable for Fred so Fred had enough of Billy and thumped him in front of all the customers. Billy sacked Fred and was pleased that his ploy had worked. Billy still was nasty to Fred when he told the brewery that Fred was unemplyable. Fred tried to get another job but no one would take him on so Billy's other fierce rival Mike Baldwin gave Fred a job.
Billy then began running late night lock ins and buying cheap alcohol off the supermarket instead of the brewery. He made himself quite unpopular with the regulars.
In December 1984 he was forced out by mutual agreement and decided there was nothing left for him in Weatherfield and wanted to return to Jersey. That night he said to Bet and Betty he was going. Billy left the following night. He said goodbye to Deirdre, Alf, Ken and Bet and Betty before getting into his car and driving off into the night, leaving Weatherfield, this time for good. He was never seen or heard from in Weatherfield again.
Life after Final Departure from Weatherfield in 1984Edit
Billy returned to Jersey after severing all ties with his native Weatherfield, 250 miles away. By 1985, he was probably back running a pub in Jersey, a pub probably much better than The Rovers Return. Bet mentioned Billy in August 1992.
In Ep 5281 - 9 Jun 2002, Ken Barlow tried to trace Billy to invite him to a 100th anniversary of The Rovers but Billy was untraceable. He may have left Jersey and moved on or even died by then. Whether Billy married and had children after 1984 is also unknown, but he was 46 in 1984 so would have became a father later on in life.
Billy was mentioned in past tense on several occasions in 2012 and 2014 by Ken and Deirdre. Billy was mentioned in April 2012 at Betty's funeral. In 2014, Deirdre mentioned to Rob Donovan how she was once engaged to Billy before she wed Ray Langton and then Ken.
As of 2018, exactly what became of Billy remains uncertain but he will now be almost 80 years old. His 80th will fall in September 2018.
Appearances: 27 January–2 August 1961, 14–30 May 1962, 25 December 1963, 7–9 December 1964, 1–22 January 1969, 26 August 1970–7 July 1971, 3 January 1972–28 May 1973, 21 January 1974–12 May 1975, 19–26 October 1977, 15–24 May 1978, 28 May–20 June 1979, 5 March–5 December 1984
Born: 8th September 1938
Full Name: William Walker
Siblings: Joan Davies