RUFFORD-BORN actor Andrew Lancel has stepped down from his starring role in one of Liverpool’s major pantomimes after he was accused of child sex offences.
The former Coronation Street star told how child sex abuse claims had “made it difficult for me to continue in the role”.
He said: “As with every job in my 25-year career I have worked tirelessly with the producers and cast of Sleeping Beauty marketing and developing this exciting and unique event – the Liverpool Christmas Family Festival – but regrettably recent events have made it difficult for me to continue in the role.”
He also apologised to the people who have already bought tickets to watch him on stage at The Waterfront Big Top this Christmas.
The 42-year-old, who played factory boss Frank Foster on the Street, said: “I am sorry to the thousands of people who have bought tickets to see me and the show but I know the fantastic cast and wonderful company will deliver a truly amazing experience for Liverpool and wish everyone involved and attending a magical time. Meantime I will continue developing new projects whilst spending time with my beautiful family and friends and of course clearing my name.”
Lancel, who lives in Gateacre, South Liverpool, with his wife Louise and four-year-old son Isaac, said: “While asking for privacy for myself and family I would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming and incredible support and love from all over the world during this difficult time and to the audiences of Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles for their incredible reactions.
“Also while publicly thanking my amazing wife and son for their endless love on their behalf we would like to thank everyone for the kindness and consideration shown to them.”
Lancel, who was a pupil at Tarleton High School from 1982-1986, was charged with historical child sex offences last weekend and was bailed to appear in court before Christmas.
The former soap star, who also played DI Neil Manson in The Bill, faces five counts of indecent assault on a child under 16.
Lancel, who was charged under his real name Andrew Watkinson, completed his run at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre on Saturday.
Promoters Core Promotions Ltd said: “It is with regret that we announce Andrew Lancel’s departure from Sleeping Beauty due to personal reasons.
“We take this opportunity to thank Andrew for his good wishes to his fellow actors and for his support and extend to him best wishes for the future.”
The actor was bailed to appear at South Sefton Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, December 19.