Coronation Street's Barbara Knox banned for a year after pleading guilty to drink-driving

Coronation Street actress Barbara Knox has admitted drink-driving.

The 81-year-old, who plays Rita Tanner in the ITV soap, entered a guilty plea at Crewe Magistrates' Court.

Knox was charged following an incident in Knutsford, Cheshire, on March 10 last year.

A sample of blood was taken which gave an alcohol reading of 85 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood - the legal limit is 80.

The actress, represented by solicitor Nick 'Mr Loophole' Freeman, had previously denied the offence last April and was due to go on trial next month. It was said on her behalf today that she 'bitterly regrets' the incident.

Knox, of Mere, Cheshire, was said to have been a passenger in a Jaguar vehicle driven by her daughter, Maxine Ashcroft, 56.

The car was stopped by police after a member of the public reported that they thought the driver was under the influence of alcohol.

Ashcroft was found to be nearly three times the legal limit when she gave a breathalyser reading at Middlewich police station.

The veteran actress later arrived at the station and was herself arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.

Ashcroft, from Lechlade, Gloucestershire, later pleaded guilty to drink-driving and was banned from driving for two years.

Knox was banned from driving for a year, fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,750 costs and a £120 victim surcharge

A spokesman for Coronation Street said it was a 'a private and personal matter'.

At a previous hearing last year, it was said by Mr Freeman that Knox claimed she was 'physically manhandled' by officers before she was charged with drink-driving.

She was said to be in 'a highly emotionally charged state' when she was taken into custody. The actress had earlier been driven home by an officer when her daughter was stopped at the roadside.

About a hour later she attended Knutsford police station and attracted the attention of police officers, but appeared to be intoxicated, the court heard.

At the previous hearing, Simon Pover, prosecuting, said: "Officers were concerned about how she had arrived at the police station.

"She was given firm advice about how she should return home.

"An offer was made to give her a lift home. It was an offer that was declined."

The prosecutor said she was then seen to get into a Jaguar vehicle at nearby Booths supermarket car park. Knox reversed the car a short distance before she was stopped by police, he added.

Mr Pover said the actress was spoken to and then produced a positive roadside test. She was taken to Middlewich police station and was subsequently charged with drink-driving.

The court heard that Knox appeared to faint at Middlewich police station and her blood pressure needed to be taken.


Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.