Former Coronation Street star Andrew Lancel has been charged with five offences of sexually abusing a child, according to reports.

The 42-year-old – who played Frank Foster in the ITV1 soap – will appear at South Sefton Magistrates Court in Liverpool on December 19, to answer the five charges of indecent assault on a child under the age of 16.

He was charged with the offences – believed to be historic and dating back to when he was a trainee actor – under his real name of Andrew Watkinson.

A Merseyside Police spokesman said that Mr Lancel was charged under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

His lawyer Stuart Nolan told the Mirror that the actor “strenuously denies” the allegations against him.

“Mr Lancel was invited by police to co-operate with an inquiry by one complainant about events that allegedly took place over 20 years ago.

“He is confident his innocence will be established in the fullness of time.

Mr Lancel starred in The Bill for 15 years before appearing in Corrie as Frank – who left viewers outraged this year after he was acquitted of raping Carla Connor, played by Alison King.

However the character met an untimely demise shortly afterwards in a gripping ‘whodunnit’ storyline – with his killer later revealed as his mum Anne.

The actor is the second Coronation Street star to face sex abuse claims in the past year, following allegations that Michael Le Vell – who plays Kevin Webster – had abused a teenage schoolgirl.

The inquiry against the actor was later dropped after judges ruled there was insufficient evidence to press charges.