Ken Barlow's son handed top job with mystic leader: Actor moves to New York to take role with controversial sect

Mail, UK/December 11, 2012

They'd certainly have some down to earth comments about it on Coronation Street.

Despite a successful career in show business, Linus Roache – son of soap veteran Bill – has taken on a key role in the world of spiritual enlightenment.

The 48-year-old has moved to New York to help run the worldwide sect of a controversial guru 'dedicated to catalysing evolution in consciousness and culture'.

In a candid interview, Roache also said he recently used an 'animal psychic' to communicate with his dead cat.

The actor made his name in the American police series Law & Order and appeared in Julian Fellowes' ITV drama Titanic in March. Next year he will return to UK screens in one-off costume drama The Making of a Lady, playing an English aristocrat opposite Joanna Lumley. But viewers will be less familiar with his secondary life as a disciple of 'cultural visionary' Andrew Cohen.

Mr Roache met the spiritualist leader in 1994 and soon joined his spiritual network, EnlightenNext. Since then he and his wife Rosalind Barrett have climbed steadily up the organisation's ranks.

Mr Roache is now managing director of the group's New York offices while Miss Barrett organises Mr Cohen's PR and speaking engagements.

In an interview with occult magazine Spirit and Destiny he gave a revealing snapshot of his beliefs. He said: 'I realised success as an actor alone wouldn't make me happy.

'I needed to explore my spiritual side in more depth. We recently consulted an animal communicator to find out why our cat, Chloe, kept climbing 80ft trees. I was spending $300 (£186) a time to pay tree surgeons to rescue her.

'The animal psychic nailed her personality and described her climbing as an immature habit she'd grow out of.

'She told us Chloe was saying, "I'm not up the tree now, so what are you worried about?" She also communicated with another of our cats, Jack, when he was alive and after he died.'

Mr Roache revealed he meditates with his father, now 80, and praised him for helping him stay true to his beliefs.

He said: 'Dad has always been – and still is – a great influence on me. He has always stood up for spirit, staying true to his beliefs and commitment to them, and I like to do the same with regard to my own beliefs, regardless of potential criticism or mockery.'

Speaking for the first time about his childhood, he added: 'My parents were receptive to the emerging wave of spirituality in the 1960s and the way they embrace it opened me up to new dimensions.

'Mum [the late actress Anna Cropper] read I Ching and Tarot cards, and she and Dad became druids for a while.

'So from an early age I was contemplating the big questions: Who are we? What's life all about?'

Bill Roache, who has played Ken Barlow since the first episode of Coronation Street in 1960, has often spoken of his belief in spiritualism.

He briefly became a druid in the 1960s and celebrated the summer solstice at Stonehenge.

Following the death of his 18-month-old daughter Edwina in 1984 he became a fervent believer in reincarnation.

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