Coronation Street star Bill Roache held over rape claim

Bill Roache has been arrested on suspicion of raping a 15-year-old girl in 1967. Photo: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment

Coronation Street star Bill Roache has been arrested on suspicion of raping a 15-year-old girl in 1967.

The actor, who has played Ken Barlow in the ITV soap since its debut episode in 1960, was held at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, this morning.

He is being questioned over an allegation of raping an under-age girl in Lancashire between April and July 1967, and it is understood that he will not appear in Coronation Street while investigations continue.

ITV News' UK Editor Lucy Manning reports:

There has still been no response from Bill Roache, who is still at a Lancashire police station more than 10 hours after his arrest.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said: "An 81-year-old man from Wilmslow in Cheshire has this morning, Wednesday May 1 2013, been arrested by Lancashire Constabulary on suspicion of rape.

"The man will be interviewed at a police station in Lancashire during the course of the day.

"We take all allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously and would encourage people with any information about sexual abuse, or anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, to come forward and report their concerns confident in the knowledge they will be investigated appropriately and with sensitivity."

The gates outside the Coronation Street actor's home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, were guarded following his arrest. Credit: ITN

Bill Roache

  • The 81-year-old was born in Ilkeston, Derbyshire
  • He started his career in the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1953 but left to pursue an acting career
  • Roache landed the role of Ken Barlow in Coronation Street after being spotted performing in the Granada Television play Marking Time and has starred in the soap since its debut episode in 1960
  • He collected an award from Guinness World Records in 2010 as the world's longest-serving soap actor
  • In 1999 the actor won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Soap Awards
  • In 2001 he was awarded an MBE