The actor appeared as the character Mel Hutchwright in ten episodes of Coronation Street back in 2005 and spoke fondly about the experience on today's ITV's This Morning.
"When Bill Roache is coming down the corridor towards you, you don't know if it's him or Ken Barlow. Of course he is both! You know the character more than the actor so it can be a bit bewildering! I had a ball, I loved them all. They were so friendly," he said.
Then, interviewer Eamonn Holmes surprised him with a video message from Coronation Street's William Roache – who also arranged for a very special 76th birthday gift to be delivered to Sir Ian!
William said: "I can't believe it's ten years since you were with us and we had the honour, and it was an honour and pleasure of working with you.
"Now, we have got a little birthday present for you… it is one of the cobbles on which you have trodden, and the hidden agenda is that every time you fall over it or stub your toe on it, you'll think of us! But also when you think of us, you might think about coming back. Ian, have a wonderful birthday. Tremendous love from all of us her on the Street. Many happy returns."
Ian looked visibly surprised and delighted by the message – even more so when Eamonn handed him that hallowed cobble which had been mounted on a platform!
"Oh my goodness me, it's mounted as well," said Ian. "I know exactly where that will go under my portrait of Violet Carson [who played Ena Sharples on Coronation Street. Thank you very, very, very much indeed."
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