Beverley Callard to leave Coronation Street

Rovers Return landlady Beverley Callard is to leave Coronation Street next year, it was announced today.







Callard, who took a five-month break in 2009 as a result of depression, said she was looking forward to "new challenges".



The actress first joined the series as Liz McDonald 21 years ago although she had a five-year absence until 2003 when she concentrated on theatre and her fitness DVDs. She also starred in BBC3 comedy Two Pints of Lager and a Packet Of Crisps.



Street bosses said they are working on an "exciting" exit storyline.



She joined the show in 1989 with street husband Jim played by Charlie Lawson and sons Steve (Simon Gregson) and Andy (Nicholas Cochrane).



During her lengthy stint in the show she has suffered domestic abuse, been a kidnap victim kidnap victim and had an affair, as well as acting as the chain-smoking confidante of Deirdre Barlow.



She said today: "I've loved every minute of my second stint on the street, it's always a difficult decision to make the leap but I returned for the 40th so leaving for the 50th feels like perfect timing.



"I'll miss everyone on the show but I'm looking forward to some new challenges and to see what life has to offer beyond Liz's famous mini skirts."



The actress is to wed her long-term partner Jon McEwan at the end of this month and has been a regular guest panellist on ITV1 show, Loose Women.



Corrie producer Phil Collinson said: "Bev has created an iconic and much-loved character in Liz. She will be greatly missed behind the bar of the Rovers by the viewers of the show.



"She's a lovely lady and is such a talented actress. We all wish her well in whatever she does next and we hope to see the character of Liz return some time in the future."



He added: "Plans are now being made for an exciting exit storyline for her departure next year."











Speaking on ITV1's Loose Women today, Callard described her decision to leave Coronation Street "for a while" as "one of the hardest ones I've ever made".



She added: "It's not because I'm disloyal, I love it, as you know, I'll always be loyal to the show. But as an actor, I just want to go back on stage again for a while and maybe do some other things.



"I'm getting married, as you all know, and I want some time with my new husband. But I will always be loyal."

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