Ken is born and raised in Coronation Street, Weatherfield, Lancashire, on 9 October 1939.
He is the eldest son born to Frank (Frank Pemberton) and Ida Barlow (Noel Dyson).
Roache has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the British Soap Awards for his portrayal of Ken.
Having appeared continuously since, December 2010 marked Ken's 50th anniversary on-screen, making Roache the longest-serving actor in a televised soap opera.
Roache was honoured at the 2010 Guinness World Records ceremony for the achievement, when he surpassed actor Don Hastings from the American soap opera As the World Turns, who previously held this title.
In terms of types of lie, most (55–90%) believed that others were at least lying about their age, gender, activities, interests, and appearance across the four online venues.
Ninety percent expected others to lie at least sometimes about their appearance (most expected lie type) and 55% expected others to lie at least sometimes about their gender (least expected lie type).
Despite his somewhat antagonistic role in the show's early years, Ken developed a reputation among critics for representing an archetypal "boring man".
This is an allegation denied by Roache, who has cited Ken's evolution over the years, his chaotic love life and dysfunctional family as evidence to the contrary.
However, although they expected people to lie more about their gender on sites with more anonymity and invisibility (like anonymous chat rooms and sexual websites), they expected equal rates of lies about appearance across all four websites, even on sites where users provide pictures and have shared acquaintances.
Moreover, perceptions of others’ lying behavior on the venue were more significant predictors of own lying behavior than any of the personal characteristics we measured (i.e., Machiavellianism, psychopathy, extraversion, or internet addiction).
The storyline lead to a feud between Ken and Mike, prominent in both characters' narratives until Mike's screen death in 2006.
In March 2017, Coronation Street centred a "whodunit" storyline around the character, where Ken is pushed down the stairs by an unknown assailant, with the storyline being dubbed, "Who Attacked Ken? On , Ken's attacker was revealed as his son, Daniel Osbourne (Rob Mallard).
Of the many women Ken has been paired with, his relationship with Deirdre has been the most enduring.