Actor Stephen Tompkinson is to stand trial in the North East next year accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

The 56-year-old, best known for starring as Inspector Alan Banks in ITV crime series DCI Banks, appeared by video link at Newcastle Crown Court from an undisclosed location for a plea hearing today.

He confirmed his identity and when the charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm was put to him, he responded “not guilty”.

The charge alleges he unlawfully and maliciously inflicted grievous bodily harm on another man on Sunday, May 30, last year.

Read more: DCI Banks star Stephen Tompkinson of Whitley Bay charged with inflicting GBH

It is understood it arose from a confrontation outside an address in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, where the actor was living at the time.

The court was told he is to claim self-defence at trial.

Following his not guilty plea, discussions took place between prosecuting counsel Tom Mitchell, and defence barrister Adam Birkby as to a suitable trial date.

It was agreed it would be likely to last up to five days, but it may well be concluded within four days, unless there is any contentious medical evidence over the complainant’s injuries.

A start date was agreed as Tuesday May 2, to be heard by The Recorder of Newcastle, Judge Paul Sloan.

The timetable agreed means the prosecution must submit its case by October 19, with a defence statement to be prepared and submitted by November 16.

A pre-trial hearing, if considered necessary, will take place before Judge Sloan on February 24, but Mr Tomkinson is not required to attend.

Read more: DCI Banks star Stephen Tompkinson to appear in court charged with inflicting GBH

As proceedings were about to conclude today, Mr Birkby said to Judge Robert Adams that the case, “for obvious reasons”, has attracted widespread media interest.

He said: “Some of the reporting has been inaccurate and, at worst, somewhat salacious.

“I don’t suggest, and would never suggest, the press should be told what to write.

“But, it’s important to note he’s pleaded not guilty and the issue is one of self-defence.”

Judge Adams said the media, “must be careful in reporting this to ensure what is said is accurate and in no way prejudices a fair trial next year.”

Addressing Mr Tompkinson, he said: “Your trial will take place on May 2 next year.

“Bail is enlarged in the same terms as before.”

He added that the defendant must submit his defence statement by November 16.

The Stockton-born actor, who lives in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, appeared at a hearing before magistrates in Newcastle last month, when he also denied the offence, and the case was sent to the crown court.

Mr Tompkinson became a household name after starring as Father Peter Clifford in the tv drama Ballykissangel, in 1996.

In the same year, he appeared as ‘Phil’ in hit film Brassed Off.

Other notable tv credits include Drop The Dead Donkey, Wild At Heart, Minder, New Tricks, Grafters and Ted And Alice.

He was in DCI Banks for six years until the show was axed in 2016.

Later this year, Mr Tompkinson, who recently starred as Frank Bryant in a stage adaptation of Educating Rita, is due to feature in ITV drama The Long Shadow about Yorkshire ripper Peter Sutcliffe.

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