Veteran soap character Ken Barlow will not appear on Coronation Street again until the legal proceedings against the actor Bill Roache have concluded.
Roache was charged yesterday evening with two counts of rape against a 15-year-old girl after spending the day being questioned by Lancashire police. The incidents are alleged to have taken place in 1967.
“Bill Roache will not be appearing in Coronation Street until legal proceedings are concluded,” an ITV spokesperson told RadioTimes.com.
It is understood Roache had already filmed a number of scenes for Coronation Street that will now have to be cut from upcoming episodes. At this stage it is not clear how the sudden disappearance of Roache’s character, Ken Barlow, will be explained to viewers.
Roache is the longest serving member of the Coronation Street cast, having been on the show since its first episode in 1960.
Earlier this year, Corrie producers were forced into a similar situation after long-time cast member Michael Le Vell was charged with 19 counts of sexual assault, including a count of child rape. Le Vell’s character, mechanic Kevin Webster, has not appeared in the soap since the charges were brought against him.
Roache was recently forced to apologise after making comments that suggested famous people could be “caught in the trap” of sleeping with underage girls and that “everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives.”
The actor’s arrest and charges are not connected to the ongoing Operation Yewtree investigations which was established in the aftermath of Jimmy Savile revelations, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed.
Roache will appear at Preston Magistrates’ Court on May 14.