Casanova Ken and the other conquest-counters

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Corrie's Bill Roache has joined a band of men who have boasted about their vast number of sexual partners. Chaps, we really don't want to know, says John Walsh

Ken Barlow has long been thought by Coronation Street viewers to be a bit of a moralising dullard, but he's never been short of girlfriends. Over the show's 52 years, he has found 28 women prepared to overlook his interest in local history and go to bed with him. His womanising, however, is as nothing compared to the exploits of his real-life alter ego, Bill Roache. According to reports, he's revealed that he's slept with "up to 1,000 women".

He didn't actually mention this figure. It was suggested to him by Piers Morgan who, as Nick Clegg will confirm, is a bit of a weasel about getting chaps to "confess" their sexual histories. In an interview with Morgan, to be broadcast next month, Roache said he'd slept with "more than 100 women". Morgan joshingly suggested the real figure was "nearer a thousand," to which Roache, 79, replied " I'm not denying it". He also admitted his nickname among the Street cast was "Cock Roache".

Roache is the most recent in a line of high-profile men who have revealed their popularity as swordsmen of the boudoir. Often they offer reasons for their sexual incontinence. After divorcing his first wife Anna, Roache said: "There were plenty of girls. I shouldn't have done it. I didn't have any control over my own sex drive."

Mick Hucknall, the Simply Red crooner, estimated he'd slept with 3,000 women in three years; in a classic piece of humblebragging, he apologised to them all in the Guardian. "Between 1985 and 1987, I would sleep with three women a day, every day," he said. "I never said no. This was what I wanted from being a pop star." But there was more to it than satyriasis. "I wanted love from every woman because I didn't have my mother's love." (His mother had abandoned him at three.)

Earlier this year, the art critic Brian Sewell revealed that he "metamorphosed from celibate to whore" in 1959. He counted "a thousand fucks a year and easily a thousand sexual partners in a quinquennium" (ie, five years). The reason, he thought, was: "I was making up for the golden years that had passed me by, for the opportunities lost in the arid years of denial."

Other famous shaggers make no apology. Julio Iglesias bragged of the 3,000 women who fell for his Latin charms. Gene Simmons from Kiss was asked if it was true he'd slept with 4,600 women. "No it isn't," he snapped. "The figure is 4,800." Footballers seem much less likely to brag about the notches on their bedposts than basketball players – such as Magic Johnson, who claimed to have slept with 1,000 women before contracting Aids, and Wilt Chamberlain who claimed he'd had sex with 20,000. "At my age that equals out to having sex with 1.2 women a day, every day since I was 15 years old," he wrote, later explaining: "I don't see all this lovemaking as any kind of conquest; all I'm saying is that I like women, and to most people the number of women who have come and gone through my bedrooms would boggle the mind."

Writers, being a sedentary and solitary breed, seldom figure in lists of studs. By a mile the most conspicuous was Georges Simenon, the Belgian creator of Inspector Maigret. He told the world that he'd made love to 10,000 women in 64 years. Even that wasn't enough. "I literally suffered," he said, "from knowing there were millions of women in the world that I would never know." Poor guy. Fighting off accusations that he treated women like snacks, he revealed that many of his lovers had been prostitutes, but that "a call girl is as worthy of respect as a princess. I certainly think of myself as a feminist". He also revealed that the figure wasn't his computation. "A journalist came up with that figure by multiplication, figuring on the basis of two or three women a week, and I suppose it's about right. I am insatiable for contact with women."

Real gentlemen, of course, are not so ungallant as to reveal their tally of partners – though figures such as Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty seem happy to have hacks and biographers speculate on their behalf. But the last word should perhaps be that of David Bailey, the legendary Sixties snapper and giggling lothario (he always claimed he "laughed his girlfriends into bed").

Shortly after Nick Clegg's ill-advised encounter with Piers Morgan, a newspaper asked Bailey what he thought of the Clegg revelations. "Telling everyone how many women he's been with, what's that all about?" asked Bailey. "I mean, do I really want to know what an under-achiever he is?"

Bedtime boasters: Other braggers

Georges Simenon: The Belgian author and creator of Inspector Maigret reckoned his 10,000 conquests weren't enough. Bed-notch rating: 5/5

Mick Hucknall: Apologised in the national press to the 3,000 women he'd slept with in a three-year spree.Bed-notch rating: 4/5

Gene Simmons: Corrected a journalist who suggested he'd slept with 4,600 women. The number was actually 4,800. Bed-notch rating: 4/5

Nick Clegg: Told GQ he'd slept with "less than 30" women. Regretted it as soon as the sobriquet "Cleggover" was born. Bed-notch rating: 1/5

Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick