Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell will not be appearing in any further episodes pending the outcome of legal proceedings over alleged child sex offences.
Le Vell, 48, whose real name is Michael Turner, has been charged with 19 sex offences including raping a child, indecently assaulting a child and sexual activity with a child.
He is one of TV’s most famous faces after playing car mechanic Kevin Webster for the past 30 years in the TV show.
But an ITV spokesman said today: “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.”
Le Vell, a father of two, was not charged with offences after his initial arrest in September 2011 and the investigation was dropped three months later, when authorities said there was not enough evidence to charge him.
But Greater Manchester Police said the actor had been charged after a review of evidence by the Crown Prosecution Service.
A police spokeswoman said: “Michael Turner, of Hale, Cheshire, has been charged with 19 offences, including raping a child, indecently assaulting a child and sexual activity with a child.”
Alison Levitt, QC, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions, had reviewed the evidence in relation to allegations of sexual offences and a decision previously made not to prosecute.
Ms Levitt said: “I have very carefully reviewed the evidence and concluded 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 him with 19 offences, including rape of a child.
“Mr Turner has now been charged with criminal offences and has a right to a fair trial.”
Le Vell is due to appear at Manchester Magistrates Court on February 27.