HE has one of the most famous faces in showbiz, but this week TV viewers saw Ken Morley’s features concentrated on an unfamiliar role.

The 71-year-old former Coronation Street star was battling it out on MasterChef to win a place in the final amongst four other celebrities.

The comedian and actor who is best known for his role as Reg Holdsworth on the cobbles – a part he played for five years – said his time on the BBC programme cooking for stern judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode was terrifying.

“You are put under a lot of pressure and, like anything else, people fail when it’s not their profession, especially when they put together food that tastes foul,” said Ken.

“There were some unusual results and things didn’t turn out as I expected but I can’t tell you why. All I can say is MasterChef was a very exhilarating, confusing and terrifying event for me.”

The Chorley-born comic took part in the initial heat of this week’s programme, but was first to leave the show, which saw the stars cooking homemade burgers, working the morning shift in a busy London kitchen and preparing a two-course meal of their own invention.

Also battling for the crown were actors Amanda Burton and Emma Barton as well as TV presenter Alison Hammond and former JLS singer JB Gill. Ken said: “I said yes to MasterChef without really knowing what it entailed.

“I quickly realised there’s a big difference in being an amateur at something you’re interested in, and being a professional.

“But you enter into the spirit of the occasion and try to persuade judges.

“It is great because it’s really entertaining and very strange to be interacting with the professional chefs.”

Ken insists that fresh and local produce is the key to a good meal.

“I would say my food philosophy is to avoid the easy way out by consuming preservatives and try to eat foods that haven’t been tampered with.

“Now I only eat two meals a day because I have had problems with my weight. I buy pre-packed mackerel or salmon and eat it with salad and olives or some brie.

“It is full of taste, something that people replace with volume. They order a big plate of chips because they taste good when really the simplicity of salt and pepper and herbs can do the trick.”

Ken, the only child of Accrington engineer Frank Morley and his wife, Phylliss, said that Lancashire’s restaurants are limited, although there is a place to dine for us all.

“In the north west, chefs claim to be professional and some are quite ferocious when it comes to serving up expensive meals.

“Lancashire itself only has a handful of good restaurants, whereas Cheshire has more. That says something about people’s tastes and the amount of money they’re prepared to spend ... from McDonald’s to the Midland hotel in Manchester, everybody likes to entertain themselves with culinary delights.” Away from the professional kitchen, Ken, who lives with his wife, Sue, in Clayton-le-Woods and has a place in London, is still a keen actor with a love of panto.

“When I was younger, I moved to London and I married a Londoner. at the time when I got the job working for Granada TV we moved to Clayton-le-Woods. It doesn’t really matter where you live. I think those days of staying in one place for the rest of your life have gone. Professional people are prepared to follow jobs and move away for work,” said Ken who is a former teacher at Smithills High School, Bolton.

A star of adverts for double-glazing manufacturer Safestyle UK, Ken has had a successful career on stage and in television. He has appeared on You Rang M’Lord, The Management, Chelmsford 123 and Les Girls. In 1987 he joined the cast of Allo Allo as Flockenstuffen and remained with the series until 1989.

One of his most recent roles is in comedy sitcom Benidorm where he features as the head of a local hairdressing salon Mafia.

“Benidorm is lots of fun and so were the Safestyle UK adverts that I am remembered by.

“When I started out they were a very small company and now they have done very well, supplying windows all over the place including the Home Office,” said Ken.

Reflecting on his time in Coronation Street, the father-of-one said that he misses the soap but wouldn’t return.

Ken said: “I had a great time on Coronation Street but left to do more acting and take on new challenges. I have had a good career and have met some fantastic people. I was at university with Rick Mayall and it’s a real shame what has happened to him. It was sad to hear about his death.”