Ken Barlow comes out for the Tories

And the world is blinded by Corrie star power.

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What an opening shot. Scorsese, Cameron (James, not David), Tarantino, take note. THIS is how films should start. The swirling piano, the tracking shot of a be-scarved, leather-gloved protagonist wandering along a wintry, tree-lined path.

And then, cut. Straight to the red teacups. And William Roache (better known as Ken Barlow in Coronation Street) sitting at his kitchen table talking about death taxes.

The issue is important, yes. But Barlow? Really? It seems a shame to reduce an election campaign to a war of celebrities, but let's indulge that thought for a moment. The Lib Dems, apparently, have support from Kate Winslet, Chris Martin and Colin Firth. Labour has David Tennant and J K Rowling. And the Tories have Barlow (looking pretty suave for his 77 years).

He's got his script nailed, though -- appearing suitably anxious when talking about Labour's policies, earnest and academic as he wears his glasses to read weighty reports, and then solid and grandfatherly as he pledges his support to the Conservative Party.

Good old Barlow and his "dysfunctional" Coronation Street family, as he calls it. This is exactly what the modernising Tory party needs to show the world its fresher face.

Sophie Elmhirst is a freelance writer and former New Statesman features editor.

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