Corrie star Roache 'horrified' by rape allegations
'Coronation Street' actor Bill Roache has vowed to fight allegations that he raped a 15-year-old girl in 1967.
"I am astounded and deeply horrified by the extraordinary events of the last 24 hours," the veteran star said in a statement.
"I strenuously deny the allegations and will now focus my full attention on fighting to preserve my innocence in the challenging times ahead."
The 81-year-old, who has played Ken Barlow in the ITV soap since its launch in 1960, was arrested at his home in Cheshire, on Wednesday.
Lancashire Police said that the actor was being charged with two counts of rape following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The force said: "The offences are alleged to have been committed in Haslingden between April and July 1967 and to involve a girl, aged 15 years."
Nazir Afzal, chief prosecutor for CPS North West, said: "Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Roache to be charged with two offences of rape relating to a girl, aged 15, in 1967."
He will appear at Preston Magistrates' Court on May 14.
Roache – the world's longest-serving soap actor – will not appear in 'Coronation Street' until legal proceedings are concluded, ITV has said.
There was a large media presence outside his home yesterday, but no sign of the actor.