Stuart Hall leaves Preston Magistrates court (Reuters)
Stuart Hall leaves Preston Magistrates court (Reuters)

Veteran BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall has appeared in court on charges of rape and indicent assault .

Hall, 83, appeared at Preston magistrates court to confirm his name. Hall is due to appear next at Preston crown court on 1 March.

The charges against the football commentator and presenter relate to allegations of rape against a 22-year-old woman and 14 other alleged sex assaults relating to 10 girls aged between nine and 16.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between 1967 and 1986.

Speaking outside the court, Hall, from Wimslow in Cheshire, said he will fight against the "spurious" allegations against him and told reporters his life has been "a living nightmare" since the accusations surfaced.

Hall added he had considered taking his own life as a result of the accusations and also questioned why they have taken so long to surface.

Speaking after his brief appearance in court, Hall told reporters: "May I just say these allegations are pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious. And may I just say I am not guilty and will be defending these accusations.

"Like a lot of other people in this country today I am wondering why it has taken 30 or 40 years for these allegations to surface. The last two months of my life have been a living nightmare. I have never gone through so much stress in my life and I am finding it difficult to sustain.

"Fortunately I have a very loving family and they are very supportive and I think but for their love I might have been constrained to take my own life. They have encouraged me to fight on, to fight the charges and regain my reputation and good name and whatever I have represented to this country down the years.

"With that I would like to thank everybody who has supported me for their good will which has sustained me through this absolutely horrific ordeal. As I say I shall be defending myself. I am 83 years old. I was a healthy 83 year old, but I am now incubating a heart complaint and I'll be very lucky to survive another couple of years.

"But I hope to survive those two years and regain my honour and reputation and more than ever, my life."

Hall had previously denied three counts of indecent assault charges.

The BBC confirmed Hall will not be working at the BBC while the police continue with their inquiries.

Hall is best known for his florid commentating style and has been a broadcaster for the past 50 years. Last December he was awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list for services to broadcasting and charity.