Robbie Coltrane has denounced the BBC for its treatment of Cliff Richard over claims of historic sex abuse.

The Scottish actor hit out at the BBC's live broadcast of a police raid at the singer's home in 2014, which followed a tip-off from Yorkshire police, while the 75-year-old was away on holiday.

Richard only learned about the dramatic events unfolding back home after seeing footage of the police search at his Berkshire mansion on the evening news in Portugal.

The CPS ultimately dropped the claims in June of this year, but the decision is now being challenged by two further claimants, leaving the music legend "incandescent" and refusing to eat report The Sun.

The British pop star has never arrested or charged for any offence by prosecutors.

Speaking of the initial incident, Coltrane told the Sunday Mirror: "It's not for the BBC to publish the police business. But they did. Of course I feel for him. I feel for anyone who's innocent."

Coltrane made the comments ahead of his new role as a celebrity accused of rape in a new four-part series called Nation Treasure. The ITV drama looks at how the recent spate of historic VIP sex abuse cases – mainly launched after the Jimmy Savile paedophile revelations – are handled.

Richard, famous for hits throughout the 1950s and 1960s such as We Don't Talk Anymore and Summer Holiday, has spoken freely about the reputational damage he suffered as a result of the allegations, suggesting it has has cost him nearly £1m ($1.3m) in album, calendar and business sales.

South Yorkshire Police has apologised "wholeheartedly for the additional anxiety caused" by the force's "initial handling of the media interest" in its investigation.

The BBC later said it was "very sorry" if Richard suffered distress' after its coverage of the police raid, but continues to defend its decision to report the investigation and the search of his property.