Rosalind Adams is quitting as Clarrie Grundy in The Archers after 25 years in the role.
But producers of the BBC Radio 4 soap will not be killing off the character and will recast the role, which has been played by three actresses since it was created in the 1970s.
Adams said she was parting company with long-suffering Clarrie – the wife of loveable rogue Eddie – to allow her to spend more time with her grandchildren.
She added: "I'm 68 and have very young grandchildren with whom I want to spend more time. It has been a brilliant job and I'm happy to hand it over to someone else."