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BBC pulls drama after rape claims against star Westwick

© AFP/File | Police in Los Angeles are investigating a rape allegation against Ed Westwick, pictured here in September 2017

LONDON (AFP) - 

The BBC announced Friday it was pulling an Agatha Christie drama from its Christmas schedule after rape allegations were made against one of its stars, British actor Ed Westwick.

"These are serious allegations which Ed Westwick has strenuously denied," a BBC spokesman said.

"The BBC is not making any judgement but until these matters are resolved we will not include 'Ordeal by Innocence' in the schedules."

The three-part adaptation of Christie's 1958 crime novel "Ordeal By Innocence" had looked set to be a prominent feature in the British broadcaster's festive line-up.

Police in Los Angeles announced on Tuesday that they are investigating a rape allegation against Westwick, who found fame in the US series "Gossip Girl".

Kristina Cohen made the allegation in a Facebook post on Monday, which was followed by another actress Aurelie Wynn on Wednesday saying she was also raped by Westwick in 2014.

Westwick, 30, has strongly protested his innocence, saying he was cooperating with the authorities to clear his name.

"It is disheartening and sad to me that as a result of two unverified and provably untrue social media claims, there are some in this environment who could ever conclude I have had anything to do with such vile and horrific conduct. I have absolutely not," he wrote on Twitter.

The BBC spokesman added that Westwick had also stopped filming on the next series of comedy drama "White Gold", about a double glazing sales team in the 1980s.

"The independent production company making 'White Gold' has informed us that Ed Westwick has paused from filming while he deals with these allegations," he said.

© 2017 AFP