09/06/2013 12:07 BST | Updated 09/06/2013 12:15 BST

Jeremy Irons On Child Abuse: People In The 1970s Were 'Goers'

Jeremy Irons has revealed his views on child abuse, explaining that people in the 1970s were 'goers'.

The Oscar-winning actor said he felt "incredibly sorry for...the television guy on Coronation Street', thought to be a reference to Bill Roache, who is facing abuse charges against girls aged between 11 and 16.

Photo gallery See Gallery

Irons' views on gay marriage recently hit the headlines, when he told The Huffington Post that a law change could lead to fathers marrying their sons.

In the interview with the Sunday Times, (£) he said there was "a blanket term for child abuse, and if the worst thing you have done was put your hand on someone’s thigh under their skirt, that may be sexual abuse, but it’s not like buggering a nine-year-old boy”.

Photo gallery See Gallery

Irons told the paper people were "goers" in the 1970s, adding: "They were. I mean, look at Top of the Pops. What were those girls doing there?

"What did they want, the lot of them, when they hung around the caravans and trailers afterwards? There was a sort of sexual freedom.

"To have all that dragged up for something relatively innocuous — that’s tough. They seem to be in the mood to pillory anybody.

“I mean, Jimmy Savile — well, I won’t go there because that just sounds appalling, but . . . one hears that [sexual abuse] mostly happens within families, anyway. And I haven’t seen Operation Yewtree getting many fathers or mothers.”

Comments have been closed for legal reasons