Bill Roache will stand trial next January accused of rape and indecent assault (Reuters)
Coronation Street actor Bill Roache has pleaded not guilty to charges of historical sex offences against five girls.
Roache, 81, of Wilmslow in Cheshire, appeared at Preston Crown Court accused of two counts of rape against a 15-year-old girl in east Lancashire 1967 and a further five counts of indecent assault involving four girls aged between 11 or 12 and 16 in the Manchester area between 1965 and 1968.
He is due to stand trial in January to answer the charges.
He is on bail. Bail conditions include no direct unsupervised contact with anyone under 16 and a ban on approaching named witnesses.
The actor, who has played the part of Ken Barlow in popular ITV soap for 53 years, previously said he would "vigorously protest" what he described as "upsetting allegations" against him.
Roache holds the Guinness World Record for being the longest-serving television actor in a continuous role.
An ITV spokesperson said he would not be appearing in Coronation Street until legal proceedings conclude.
Roache was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Soap Awards in 1999 and an MBE in 2001.
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