A jury has been selected to preside over the trial of Ilkeston born Coronation Street actor William Roache.
The eight men and four women were read a list of witnesses which includes Roache’s on-screen family members Anne Kirkbride, who plays Ken Barlow’s wife Deirdre, and Chris Gasgoyne, Roache’s on-screen son Peter.
Also giving evidence at the four week trial at Preston Crown Court will be Helen Worth, who plays the character Gail Platt.
Roache faces five counts of indecent assault and two counts of rape relating to girls aged 14 to 16, dating back to the late 1960s and early 70s.
As the jury was sworn, Mr Justice Holroyd told them: “He (Roache) is probably a very familiar figure to most if not all of you. He is a very well known TV actor charged with sexual offences alleged to have taken place many years ago.
“You may well feel that in one sense you know the defendant William Roache because he is, of course, very well known as the actor who for many years has played the character ken Barlow in Coronation Street but of course it is not the fictional character of Ken Barlow that is in court.
“It is the real person, Mr William Roache that is on trial and each member of the jury must separate the fictional character from the real person.”
Members of Roache’s family, including his daughter Vanya, and sons Linus and James sat in the public gallery along with Nigel Pivaro, who plays on-screen bad boy Terry Duckworth.
Roache was arrested at his home in May and charged with two counts of rape.
The actor, who has not appeared in the programme while legal proceedings were ongoing, “strenuously” denies the allegations.
The trial is scheduled to last up to four weeks.
Visit www.ilkestonadvertiser.co.uk for daily updates from the trial at Preston Crown Court.