Coronation Street star William Roache said there were "no winners" after he was cleared of a string of sexual offences today.
The 81-year-old actor said he was looking forward to getting back to work as he spoke to reporters on the steps of Preston Crown Court after a jury cleared him of two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault.
ITV News' UK Editor Lucy Manning reports:
The 81-year-old, who is known to millions as Ken Barlow from the ITV soap, had strenuously denied two counts of rapes and five counts of indecent assault on girls aged 16 and under dating from between 1965 and 1972.
The jury took just under six hours to reach the unanimous decision to clear Roache on six charges, having already been directed by the judge to clear him of one of the charges of indecent assault.
Mr Roache's family broke down in tears as the verdicts were delivered, before embracing him as he left the dock.
Speaking on the steps of the court, Roache said: "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. Now if you will excuse me I would like to get back to work."
Roache thanked his family, friends, legal team and his employers, ITV Granada, for their support during the four-week trial.
An ITV spokesman said: "We look forward to talking to Bill soon about his return to work."
Coronation Street actors past and present expressed their delight for Roache and his family after the verdict.
Co-star Michael Le Vell, who was also tried and cleared of abuse charges, said he was "absolutely delighted" for Roache after his acquittal.
Sherrie Hewson, who played Maureen Webster in the ITV soap, welled up on live TV as the verdicts were announced.
Speaking on ITV This Morning, she said she was "so thrilled", but added that it "should never, ever have gone this far".
Current stars Beverly Callard, Charlie Condou and Bruno Langley also tweeted their support.
Ken, there's a pint waiting for you in The Rovers. Love ya!!! X
So glad and relieved the right verdict was reached. Look forward to seeing Bill back at work http://t.co/mwjC20Dr08
Go on Bill !!!!!!!!
Lancashire Police said they entirely respected the verdict reached by the jury, and insisted they remained "committed to investigating allegations of this nature, no matter how historic".
The CPS said Roache's case was treated the same as any other and the "allegations and evidence mattered and nothing else".