William Roache not guilty: ITV ‘look forward’ to talks with Coronation Street actor on return as Ken Barlow
Producers had said the actor would not appear in soap until conclusion of trial
The producers of ITV’s Coronation Street have said they “look forward” to speaking to William Roache about his return to the programme, after the actor was sensationally cleared of all sex attack charges following a four-week trial.
The 81-year-old’s participation in the long-running soap had been suspended for the duration of the court proceedings, which saw him charged with two counts of rape and four of indecent assault on young girls in the 1960s and 70s.
Roache was today found not guilty at Preston Crown Court on all counts, and ITV has said it will be discussing the actor’s future with the programme shortly.
In a statement, the broadcaster said: “We look forward to talking to Bill soon about his return to work.”
Roache’s celebrity status ended up playing a key part in his defence lawyers’ case, despite the jury being told by the judge to reject any notion of his Ken Barlow role.
Defending, Louise Blackwell QC said the trial had been haunted by the “spectre” of Jimmy Savile, suggesting that the trial had been brought in part because of Coronation Street actor’s fame.
“In the post Jimmy Savile era, once someone makes an allegation, it's got to go to court, no sense will prevail, it has to go to court,” Ms Blackwell said.
She told the jury not to “fall into the trap” of thinking there may be other women out there, in the “post-Jimmy Savile, post-Cyril Smith era”.
“There are five women,” she said. “Not 25 or 500 and none of them, nobody suggests after 1972.”
Bill Roache leaves Preston Crown Court flanked by son James Roache (centre left) and daughter Verity, after he was cleared of two counts of rape and four indecent assaults Glowing testimonies were given by defence witnesses, his co-stars, Anne Kirkbride, who plays his on-screen wife Deirdre Barlow and Helen Worth, who plays Gail McIntyre.
His fellow actors said Roache was a “perfect gentleman” and “father figure”.
Roache, speaking today after he was cleared of sex offences, said: “In these situations there are no winners and I think we should all be much kinder to ourselves. Now, if you will excuse me, I would like to get back to work.”
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Oscar de la Renta dead: Legendary US fashion designer dies after long cancer battle aged 82
Oscar Pistorius: The brutal prison life that awaits disgraced athlete
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure'