CORONATION Street star Bill Roache will face trial in January over allegations of historic sexual offences against five girls.
The 81-year-old actor from Cheshire was charged in May with two counts of raping a 15-year-old girl in east Lancashire in 1967, and last week he faced fresh charges of five indecent assaults involving four girls aged between 11 or 12 and 16.
Roache appeared today for a five-minute preliminary hearing at Preston Crown Court. His trial date was set for January 13.
He was bailed until his next court appearance on September 2 when he will enter formal pleas.
Last week, Roache’s lawyer said his client was looking forward to standing before a jury to “vigorously protest his innocence” over “deeply upsetting” child sex allegations.
The world’s longest-serving soap actor has played Ken Barlow in the ITV1 soap since its launch but will not be appearing in the programme until legal proceedings are concluded.
He entered the dock in Court 10 and spoke only to confirm his full name.
He was granted conditional bail by the Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC, and was warned he could face arrest if he does not attend his next court date.
The latest claims arose from the publicity over his arrest at his home in Wilmslow on May 1, and his subsequent charging on the same day.
The fresh charges, which relate to separate alleged victims, are said to have been committed in the Manchester area in 1965 and 1968.
Roache is on bail with various conditions including residence, no direct unsupervised contact with anyone under 16 and not to approach named witnesses.