Soap star Bill Roache cancelled all media engagements this week and said he would only answer "show-related" questions in the future.

Roache, who plays Ken Barlow on Coronation Street, canned a visit to the set of the show's New Zealand equivalent Shortland Street, and called off interviews with TVNZ and NZ Herald columnist Michelle Hewitson.

A spokeswoman from South Pacific Pictures, which produces Shortland Street, said the decision to cancel the set visit was mutual. "A variety of factors came into play for both parties and a mutual decision was made to cancel the visit," she said.

Roache sparked outrage by suggesting victims of sexual abuse were paying the price for actions in "previous lives".


Roache, here for the Coronation Street stage show, issued international apologies and said his comments to TVNZ reporter Garth Bray had been misunderstood.

"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."