Coronation Street star Bill Roache has said he was "very sorry for any offence that has been caused" after he suggested in a television interview that victims of paedophiles bring abuse upon themselves because of what they have done in previous lives.
The 80-year-old who has played Ken Barlow in the ITV soap for more than 50 years, had told New Zealand's One News that the public should not be judgmental but be "totally forgiving" of people who have committed child sex crimes.
In a statement, the actor said: "I would like to say that I am very sorry for any offence that has been caused as a result of my comments.
"I would never say that victims of sexual offences are in any way responsible for the abuse they have suffered and I offer my deepest apologies if anything I have said has been misunderstood in this way.
"I had no intention of causing any kind of distress as a result of my interview and I offer my utmost sympathies to anyone affected by sexual offences and paedophilia."
In his New Zealand's One News interview Roache, talking about the furore around the Jimmy Savile sex abuse revelations, defended people "on the fringes", especially pop stars, who he said were "caught in this trap" by sexually active young female groupies.
He said: "If you accept that you are pure love, and if you know that you are pure love and therefore live that pure love, these things won't happen to you."
Interviewer Garth Bray replied: "To some people that sounds perhaps like you're saying victims bring things on themselves - is that what you're saying?"
Roache replied: "No, not quite, but and yet I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives or whatever."
Roache went on to call for anonymity for all those accused of child sex offences because of the stigma they faced even if innocent.