Following yesterday’s news that Coronation Street veteran, Bill Roache, had been found not guilty, and cleared of all charges, in this week’s historic rape and sex abuse trial, bosses at the ITV soap have confirmed that they plan to now start discussions with the actor regarding his Weatherfield return.
Bill Roache, who is the longest ever serving soap actor in the world having played Ken Barlow in Corrie since it first aired back in 1960, was temporarily written out of the soap in May last year when police first launched their investigation of allegations made against him.
Roache was accused of two counts of rape, and four counts of sexual assault on females aged 16 or under back in the 1960’s & 1970’s, all of which the jury found him not guilty of during yesterday’s trial conclusion.
During his trial, in which Roache insisted that he didn’t even know the women accusing him of the crimes, the jury heard glowing character testimonies from some of Roache’s Coronation Street co-stars, including his on-screen wife Anne Kirkbride (Deirdre Barlow), on-screen son Chris Gascoyne (Peter Barlow) and the second longest serving member of cast, Helen Worth (Gail McIntyre) who described him as being a gentleman and a father figure.
As with other, similar, writes outs in Coronation Street over the past 12 months, producers promised a gran return for the show’s most famous character, whose on-screen absence has been explained by a trip to Canada to see his sick grandson, should he be found not guilty.
And, true to word, a spokesperson from the soap, the longest running in history, has confirmed to Digital Spy that this will indeed be the case, commenting:
“We look forward to talking to Bill soon about his return to work.”
Bill Roache made a press statement outside the court yesterday following the acquittal, where he thanked the jury, amongst several other people, saying:
“First of all I would like to thank the jury for their speedy recovery, and to all those who have supported me in this situation.”
Before going on to address the situation in general:
“I have just got one thing to say: In these situations there are no winners and I think we should all be much kinder to ourselves.”
Coronation Street continues tonight at 7.30pm on ITV1 / ITV1 HD – Watch Roache’s full press statement in the clip below: