Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell has vigorously denied allegations of child sex offences.
The 48-year-old from Hale who plays Kevin Webster in the soap was arrested last night.
– Michael Le Vell statement
I would like to make it quite clear that following the serious allegations that have been brought against me on Thursday 14th February 2013, I am innocent of these charges and intend to fight them vigorously.
I will now put all my efforts into clearing my name and proving my innocence.
I thank my friends, family and fans for their continued support.
I would ask now for time to concentrate on preparing my defence with my legal team.
Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell, who has been charged with child sex offences, said in a statement today that he is innocent of all charges and will "fight them vigorously".
– ITV spokesman
"Given the serious nature of these charges, Michael Le Vell will not be appearing in Coronation Street pending the outcome of legal proceedings. It would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time.”
Michael Le Vell is best known as the garage mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street - a character he has played for 30 years.
Born Michael Turner in Manchester, he landed the role after a short guest appearance as the paperboy Neil Grimshaw.
Le Vell made his first appearance as Kevin in 1983 (just before 19:00 in the video above) when he landed a job as an apprentice in Brian Tilsley's garage.
ITV says of his character: "A no-nonsense garage mechanic who likes an uncomplicated life and his tea on the table when he comes home from work."
He has also appeared in the TV shows One by One, Fame is the Spur and The Last Song.
Michael Le Vell was first arrested in September 2011 and questioned over alleged child sex offences, but the matter was later dropped.
However, Greater Manchester Police said the actor, from Hale, Cheshire, had been charged with sex offences against a youngster after a review of evidence by lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The charges, which were authorised by the CPS following a review of evidence, relate to offences against a child between 2001 and 2010.
Michael Le Vell, 48, whose real name is Michael Turner, is accused of 19 sex offences including raping a child, indecently assaulting a child and sexual activity with a child.
– Alison Levitt, QC, Principal Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions
I have very carefully reviewed the evidence in this case and I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Michael Robert Turner with a number of sexual offences.
I have authorised Greater Manchester Police to charge Mr Turner with 19 offences, including rape of a child.
A Coronation Street actor from Cheshire has been charged with raping a child.
Michael Le Vell, who plays Kevin Webster, faces a total of 19 charges.
Le Vell, whose real name is Michael Turner, will appear before magistrates' later this month.
The charges relate to crimes allegedly committed between 2001 and 2010.