Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell will appear in court later today for a further hearing over alleged child sex offences.
The star, who plays car mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV soap, has vehemently denied the allegations and is due to formally enter his pleas to the charges at Manchester Crown Court this afternoon.
The 48-year-old is charged under his real name of Michael Turner with 19 offences including six counts of raping a child, six allegations of indecently assaulting a child and seven counts of sexual activity with a child.
The alleged offences relate to one complainant and all took place between 2001 and 2010.
Le Vell, from Hale, Cheshire, was first arrested in September 2011 and questioned over child sex allegations but the matter was later dropped.
However in January, the Crown Prosecution Service said it was in the public interest to charge him with the current offences following a review of evidence.
The father of two, originally from Manchester, is one of TV’s most famous faces after playing garage owner and mechanic Webster for the past 30 years.
He began his showbusiness career in the Oldham Theatre Workshop after taking an interest in amateur dramatics while at school.
Le Vell first joined Coronation Street in 1983 and quickly endeared himself to fans, who have followed the trials and tribulations of Kevin, from Brian Tilsley’s apprentice mechanic through to his stormy marriage to Sally, played by Sally Dynevor, and fathering two girls, Rosie and Sophie.
The actor split from his wife, Janette Beverley, last year.
ITV has said he will not be appearing in any further episodes of the soap pending the outcome of legal proceedings. He is expected to go on trial in September.
In a statement following his arrest, Le Vell, who is currently on bail, said he was innocent of the charges and intended to “fight them vigorously”.
He is due at Manchester Crown Court at 2pm later today.
By Pat Hurst