Judge: William Roache on trial, not Ken Barlow
William Roache attended Preston Crown Court today (14.01.14) for the first day of his trial, and a judge had to remind potential jurors that it is the actor on trial rather than his 'Coronation Street' character
A judge has reminded potential jurors that William Roache is on trial rather than his 'Coronation Street' character.
Mr. Justice Tim Holroyde QC told the panel to put the 81-year-old actor's alter-ego Ken Barlow out of their minds because William is the "real person" on trial accused of two counts of raping a 15-year-old girl in 1967 and five indecent assaults on four girls, all of which he "strenuously" denies.
The judge indicated it was important the potential jurors must be able to tell the difference between the actor and the fictional character to ensure a "fair and independent judgement" can be reached.
Speaking to them before the trial began at Preston Crown Court earlier today (14.01.14), he explained: "It is a real person, William Roache, who is on trial.
"You must separate the fictional character from the real person, you will have to decide verdicts from the evidence you will hear from a real person, about a real person.
"So you must put out of your mind any views you might or might not have, favourable or unfavourable, of the fictional character Ken Barlow.
"However, if for any reason any of you feel that you will find it impossible to make a fair and independent judgement on the evidence, uninfluenced by your views about the TV character, then you must say so."
Following his comments, a jury of eight women and four men were selected.
William arrived at court dressed in a blue suit flanked by a security guard and his two sons, Linus and James, who sat in the public gallery.
'Coronation Street' stars including Anne Kirkbride - who plays William's on-screen wife Deirdre Barlow in the ITV soap - Chris Gascoyne, who plays his on-screen son Peter Barlow, and Helen Worth (Gail Platt) are among the defence witnesses who will be called during the trial, jurors were told.
The trial is expected to last up to four weeks.