Janice Battersby actress Vicky Entwistle quits Street

Vicky Entwistle Although originally part of a "family from hell", Janice Battersby has shown a softer side

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Coronation Street actress Vicky Entwistle has decided to leave the show after 14 years playing loudmouth factory worker Janice Battersby.

ITV said Entwistle had "agonised" over her decision to leave the show, but felt the programme's 50th anniversary year was the right time to depart.

Last month Coronation Street bosses said several characters would be killed off during the show's 50th anniversary.

But ITV wouldn't say how the character of Janice would depart.

Enwistle said: "Corrie means so much to me and I could easily have continued to play Janice for the rest of my acting career.

"But I've been thinking of leaving for some time, and couldn't deny those feelings. I've a hankering to do other drama projects and so if I don't make this move now I never will."

She said she'd had a "fantastic time playing an extremely feisty character".

"I'll miss the great friends I've made during my time in Coronation Street, but I know we'll stay in touch and I'm grateful to be part of the show's 50th anniversary as it's a huge landmark in British television."

'Battleaxe'

The character of Janice first appeared in the Street as part of the Battersby family, alongside her slobbish husband Les (played by Bruce Jones) and step-daughter Leanne (Jane Danson) and daughter Toyah (Georgia Taylor).

Coronation Street producer Phil Collinson said: "When she first appeared on screen in 1996, Janice Battersby caused a stir and has continued to do so ever since.

"Vicky created a strong and uncompromising battleaxe with a heart of gold lurking underneath - in the true tradition of great Coronation Street women. She'll be missed by us all and we wish her well."

Last month it was revealed that the show would lose some "well-loved characters" in a dramatic tram crash storyline in December.

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