Entertainment & Arts

Michelle Collins to leave Coronation Street

Michelle Collins (2011)
Image caption Collins remains best known for playing Cindy Beale in EastEnders, a role she played for 10 years

Actress Michelle Collins, who plays Rovers Return landlady Stella Price, has confirmed she will leave ITV soap Coronation Street next year.

The former EastEnders star described the role, which she began playing in 2011, as "a revelation".

But added: "Creatively I need to play other roles".

Producer Stuart Blackburn wished the actress "every happiness" and promised "the tour de force that is Stella Price will leave with a bang".

Collins, 51, will leave the programme at the end of her current contract next April, with her final scenes expected to be aired in June 2014.

Her character has been at the centre of a number of traumatic storylines since she took up the role two years ago, including reuniting with her estranged daughter Leanne and a turbulent relationship with gambling addict Karl.

"So much has happened to the character since we discovered she was Leanne's real Mum," said Collins.

"From catching Karl with barmaid Sunita to her near-death experience in the Rovers fire - I've loved playing Stella and will be very sorry to leave her behind.

"Creatively I need to play other roles and I've ambitions as an actress that I'd like to fulfil.

"I'm also looking forward to spending more time with my daughter Maia."

'Matriarch'

Scriptwriters are currently working on Stella's departure.

"When an actor decides to leave a programme like Corrie, it means the writing team can creatively scale new heights," said producer Blackburn.

"Her character has made a tremendous impact and has deservedly earned her the status of a classic Coronation Street matriarch."

Sue Johnston, who plays Collins' on-screen mother, Gloria, is also expected to leave the soap around the same time.

The award-winning soap has suffered a number of blows this year.

Long-running stars William Roache and Michael Le Vell are involved in separate legal proceedings, and have been temporarily written out of the show.

Earlier this week, actor Chris Fountain - who played Tommy Duckworth - was sacked by the show following his exposure as a masked rapper who posted strongly worded videos online about sexual violence.

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