Ex Coronation Street star Bruce Jones has spoken for the first time about the booze and racism scandal that got him sacked in May.
Show bosses terminated his contract as Les Battersby after he allegedly made racial and sexual jibes about his cast members after drinking 19 pints.
In an interview with The Mirror, Bruce said: “They said I slagged all these people off when I didn’t.”
“That cast to me is like a family so I wouldn’t call anyone a w***er. I never swore – the manager of the hotel was stood behind me. He’d have thrown me out.
“And I am not racist. I’ve got lots of black and Asian friends. Jimi Harkishan, who plays Dev, said if I was racist, he’d show his backside.
“And if I’d had 19 pints, how could I remember everything? But I didn’t think I was going to lose my job.”
Although Bruce was surprised to be sent packing he said it was probably for the best.
“I don’t think they’d want me back there the way I was and I don’t think I could have gone back the way I was either. I couldn’t have taken anymore.”
The father-of-four knows he faces an uphill struggle to rebuild his career – but claims to be excited by the challenge.
He said: “When I finally left Corrie, it was like a weight off my shoulders. And I haven’t been back in since then. I didn’t even collect my stuff – they sent it on. I didn’t care how Les went out.”
Les’s sudden disappearance has been explained away by him supposedly going ‘on tour’ – working as a roadie with a travelling rock group.
And bosses have confirmed his character won’t be seen on The Street again.