Coronation Street actress Barbara Knox is to go on trial for drink-driving in February next year.

The 81-year-old, who plays Rita Tanner in the ITV soap, did not attend Crewe Magistrates’ Court today, where a two-day trial was fixed, starting on February 9 next year.

The actress denies the offence.

Barbara was charged following an incident in Knutsford, Cheshire, on March 10.

A sample of blood was taken which gave an alcohol reading of 85 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood – the legal limit is 80.

Barbara, of Mere in Cheshire, was said to have been a passenger in a Jaguar vehicle driven by her daughter, Maxine Ashcroft, 56.

The car was stopped by police after a member of the public reported that they thought the driver was under the influence of alcohol.

Ashcroft was found to be nearly three times the legal limit when she gave a breathalyser reading at Middlewich police station. The veteran actress later arrived at the station and was herself arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.

Ashcroft, from Lechlade, Gloucestershire, was later banned from driving for two years.

District Judge Bridget Knight extended bail in Knox’s absence until the trial at Crewe Magistrates’ Court on February 9.