Michael Le Vell: The private life of Coronation Street star revealed - Crime - UK - The Independent

Michael Le Vell: The private life of Coronation Street star revealed

Le Vell admitted he cheated on his wife while she was undergoing treatment for cancer

For more than 30 years Michael Le Vell enjoyed a stalwart role on the world’s longest running soap opera. Yet he never chose to test himself far beyond the confines of the famous cobbled set, all too aware that the security and wealth afforded by playing mechanic Kevin Webster could vanish overnight.

“For me Coronation Street is number one.  The only way out of Weatherfield is down,” he remarked. It was a chance encounter with the soap’s producer whilst at the Granada Studios to audition for another show which gave the then teenage plasterer his big break. Within a few weeks he went from local tradesman to drinking champagne with Street legends such as Johnny Baldwin and Lynne Perrie.

Throughout his trial Le Vell, real name Michael Turner, sought to persuade the jury that he was an ordinary working class bloke made good. It was the same story he told in countless interviews during his heyday in the role which was to bring him what he conceded was a “charmed life”.

One of six children born into an Oldham two-up-two down, Le Vell lost both parents in his teenage years to cancer. Success in a school production of Kes and experience at the Oldham Theatre Workshop – a local drama school which was also to produce Anna Friel, Lisa Riley, Sarah Lancashire– persuaded Le Vell that he had a future as an actor.

Yet for much of the 1980s, the moustachioed figure of Kevin Webster was little more than a blameless toiler. By the late 90s – although well established in the eyes of the viewers – he conceded his part often required little more than walking into the Rovers and ordering a pint.

He feared that he was about to be axed. "For years, I was just padding,” he was later to recall. “I went up to our then boss David Liddiment and said 'You could save thousands of pounds a year if you write me out, because I don't do anything'.”

But a more tempestuous change in the plot line to involve the Webster family in a series of infidelities appeared to lend greater interest to his role.

Le Vell’s personal life was becoming one of greater turmoil and drama too. His niece scooped £10m on the National Lottery and in 2011 – shortly after his arrest on child sex charges - he split from his wife of 25 years Janette Beverley, who had also been in Coronation Street.

It emerged during the course of his trial that the actor had been conducting a series of affairs and one night stands including when Ms Beverley was undergoing treatment for cancer.

Le Vell, who had always been a heavy and habitual drinker – a legacy of his working class upbringing, he claimed - was by now consuming up to eight pints a night at his local pub.

Two attempts to give up the booze failed and his behaviour was increasingly erratic. Although he claimed never to have suffered black outs he did concede that at one point he stumbled – blamelessly - into his alleged victim’s bed whilst drunk.

He confided to one friend that he harboured “little dark secrets” and that the inner workings of his mind were beyond the belief of normal people. He said he had done “something unforgiveable” – a reference, he claimed to his infidelity not child abuse.

Le Vell was initially arrested in September 2011 at his luxury home in Hale, Greater Manchester.

The charges were dropped the following January but proceedings were later renewed following a review of evidence by Alison Levitt, QC, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions in February 2013.

He has not appeared on the soap during the trial in which his weakness for alcohol and women and psychological failings played large. He is now due to meet the show’s makers to discuss his future.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week