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

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood

'Whether he left is almost immaterial'TV
Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
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.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before