Coronation Street legend Ken Morley: I cheated death THREE times

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The star was hospitalised for days last month with a potentially “killer flu” he picked up during his run in panto. 

It was the latest brush with death that the telly favourite has survived in recent years.

Ken, who played Bettabuy supermarket boss Reg Holdsworth, has endured a burst appendix, prostate cancer, angina and has had a quadruple heart bypass. 

The 76-year-old, who is now recovering well, joked: “I know they say cats have nine lives, but I am feline fine as I may well be part pussycat. 

“The run-in with the flu was looking like the final nail in the coffin. 

“I can honestly say I’ve never felt as close to the final curtain as when I collapsed after being helped off stage at the panto in York.” 

Ken was playing an Ugly Sister in Cinderella when the illness struck during his first evening performance. 

Ken said: “I had the continual sniffles and a hacking cough for the two weeks of rehearsals and then I had a vicious nose bleed just as the show started proper. 

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SCARY: Ken thought flu was ‘final nail in the coffin’ (Pic: nb press ltd)

“It was in the space of five minutes in the second show in front of an audience that I was struck down. 

“I suddenly felt dizzy and fuzzy and couldn’t remember any of the lines. 

“I managed to see out the first act, but it was after the interlude that I was really stricken. 

“I had to be helped off the stage, but I kept on going as we had children in the audience. 

“It was when I was backstage and on a seat that I collapsed and ended up on the floor. I had never been that seriously ill ever before.” 

Ken went on: “I was taken by ambulance to the hospital in York, where I was literally in a daze for three days. 

He added: “Open heart surgery, the cancer scare, everything else in the past 75 years was nothing as bad as that bout of flu – I am sure if it got a grip it could kill people. It was that bad.” 

Ken had a prostate cancer scare in 2007 and was told he needed heart bypass surgery in 2014. 

Now back home and convalescing in Chorley, Lancs, Ken is still feeling frail from the illness. 

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LION: Ken ‘feline fine’ after receiving treatment (Pic: getty)

But he is able to laugh about his “miracle Morley” recoveries – the title of his latest autobiography is From Here To Infirmity. 

Ken added: “I’d started working on the new book last summer as I wanted to move my initial life story Knowledge Is Power forward more than 20 years later. 

“I have been blessed to have had some sensational scrapes with death, but the NHS has pulled me back from the brink every time. 

“I’ve also appeared in scores of programmes and TV adverts after Coronation Street, so I felt I had a story well worth telling once again. 

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DICING WITH DEATH: NHS has pulled Ken back from ‘scrapes with death’ (Pic: getty)

“I still cannot go out without being recognised as Reg Holdsworth from Coronation Street’s Bettabuy. 

“That just shows how well loved the programme is – as I left 24 years ago. I know I have been exceedingly lucky to dodge the Grim Reaper as many times as I have.”

In 2015, Ken was kicked out of the Celebrity Big Brother house, with £100,000 deducted from his fee, after using the word “negro” in a conversation about former boxer Frank Bruno. 

He apologised “unreservedly” about his behaviour and maintained he was not racist, but had just used an “outdated expression”. 

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