A former Coronation Street actor ‘used his status’ to ‘flatter and gain the trust’ of a 14-year-old boy whom he went on to indecently assault, a court has heard.

Andrew Lancel, 42, was charged last November under his real name Andrew Watkinson. The actor, from Gateacre, Liverpool, is best known for his role as Frank Foster in ITV’s Coronation Street.

Lancel, who has pleaded not guilty to six counts of indecent assault of a child under the age of 16, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court for the first day of his trial.

The charges relate to one male victim and the offending allegedly took place between 1993 and 1994 when he was aged 14 and 15.

Kim Whittlestone, prosecuting, said the abuse started when the actor visited a theatre group in his home town of Southport, Merseyside, where he got to know the victim. She said the boy was ‘star-struck’ by Lancel, who had just landed a role in the television series Cardiac Arrest.

The court heard that Lancel would ‘compliment’ the boy, telling him he had talent and ‘could go places’.

The actor, then aged 23, then allegedly started taking the teenager for coffees. That progressed on to them going back to his house where the alleged offending was said to have started.

Miss Whittlestone said: “The prosecution case is that the defendant used his status as an actor at that time to flatter and gain the trust of the victim.

“He knew he was under the age of consent but despite that would progress their relationship and made it sexual – something that he knew as an adult of 23 years of age was wrong.”

Lancel denies that any sexual contact ever took place and instead says he acted as a ‘sort of mentor’ to the boy.