UK & World News
Coronation Street's Michael Le Vell Bailed
The Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell has appeared in court for the first time to face six charges of raping a child.
Le Vell, who plays Kevin Webster in the ITV soap opera, is accused of 19 child sex offences.
The actor sat glum-faced in the dock as charges of raping a child were put to him.
During the eight-minute hearing, Le Vell - whose real name is Michael Turner - spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.
Four members of his family sat towards the back of the court.
The alleged offences relate to one complainant and all took place between 2001 and 2010, the court heard.
District Judge Khalid Qureshi asked Le Vell's solicitor, Richard Gowthorpe, if there was any indication of plea, to which he replied: "No indication of plea today other than the fact that the charges are contested, and will be fully contested in the Crown Court."
Le Vell was bailed on the condition he surrenders his passport, does not contact named witnesses or have unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 14.
Asked if he understood the conditions, Le Vell nodded.
As he left the court, he said to waiting photographers: "You must have enough pictures of me by now."
When the charges were announced earlier this year, the 48-year-old father-of-two said he intends to fight them "vigorously".
"I would like to make it quite clear that following the serious allegations that have been brought against me on Thursday 14th February 2013, I am innocent of these charges and intend to fight them vigorously," he said.
"I will now put all my efforts into clearing my name and proving my innocence."
ITV dropped the actor from any further episodes of the show after the charges became public.
An ITV spokesman said: "Given the serious nature of these charges, Michael Le Vell will not be appearing in Coronation Street pending the outcome of legal proceedings. It would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time."
Le Vell, who split from his wife Janette Beverley last year, is one of television's most famous faces after playing car mechanic Kevin Webster for the past 30 years in the TV show.
Originally from Manchester, he began his acting career in the Oldham Theatre Workshop after taking an interest in amateur dramatics while at school.
He first joined the soap in 1983 and quickly endeared himself to fans who have followed the trials and tribulations of Kevin, from Brian Tilsley's apprentice mechanic through to his stormy marriage to Sally, played by Sally Dynevor, and fathering two teenage girls as well as a love child from his affair with Molly Dobbs.
Le Vell is due to appear at Manchester Crown Court on March 20.