Friends and colleagues of actor William Roache have expressed their relief and support after the actor was cleared of abuse charges – and looked forward to his return to TV.
Charlie Condou, who plays Marcus Dent in Coronation Street, wrote online: “So glad and relieved the right verdict was reached. Look forward to seeing Bill back at work.”
He later said: “It’s fantastic and we’re obviously really glad that the right verdict came back. We’re really relieved and looking forward to seeing Bill back at work as soon as possible.
“I’m not sure what the plans are [for him coming back]. I haven’t heard anything about it, but I imagine he’ll be wanting to get back to work as soon as possible. I’m sure I’ll see him as soon as he gets back into work.”
Vicky Entwistle – the programme’s Janice Battersby – said she and her husband Andrew Chapman were pleased with the verdict.
“Andy and I (are) elated to hear the wonderful news that William Roache has been cleared of all charges. We have a very happy house,” she wrote on Twitter.
Kate Ford, who has played his on-screen stepdaughter Tracy Barlow for many years, said simply: “Yay!”
Chris Bisson, known to viewers for his role as Vikram Desai, said he was “glad to hear that Bill Roache was cleared unanimously by the jury”.
And Bruno Langley (the show’s Todd Grimshaw) said on Twitter: “Go on Bill.”
Media personality Christine Hamilton, a long-standing friend of Roache, said she felt “faint with relief” at the verdict.
Mrs Hamilton told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: “I never for an instant doubted Bill’s total and complete innocence of all these charges.
“The stories of the various women concerned just didn’t stack up and Bill came over as he is, as a thoroughly decent gentleman.”
Mrs Hamilton, who was investigated in 2001 with ex-MP husband Neil over sex allegations which proved to be false, said defendants in rape cases should be granted the same anonymity as their accusers unless they are found guilty.
“I think there should be anonymity for both,” she said. “I think the pendulum has gone too far and we should restore the balance.”
She added: “You can never, ever throw off these allegations. There are still people out there who think that my husband and I are guilty of some sort of sexual offence, which is complete and utter rubbish.
“It’s very damaging and it brings into relief sharply this business of anonymity of those bringing the allegations and those who are accused.
“Rape is a unique crime in that only one side has anonymity. Ever since Magna Carta, British justice has been warring parties facing one another in open court so justice is seen to be done, but we will never know who these women are.”
Beverley Callard, known for her frequent appearances as the Street’s Liz McDonald, said: “Ken, there’s a pint waiting for you in The Rovers. Love ya.”
Actor Antony Cotton, the programme’s Sean Tully said: “The truth will always out.”