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Beverley Callard is leaving Coronation Street after 30 years on the soap.
The actress, known for playing Liz McDonald, said she has had “so many sleepless nights” over the decision but promised that her character will exit in style.
Callard, 62, told OK! Magazine that she was “in shock” and “felt totally numb” after finally making up her mind to leave.
But she added: “I’ve been told Liz is going to go with one hell of a bang. I can’t wait!”
Callard made her debut on Corrie’s cobbles in 1989 and has appeared as the feisty Rovers Return pub landlady on and off since then, leaving and returning several times.
She will be seen on screen until next summer.
John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the North, said: “With the character of Liz, Beverley Callard has gifted to Coronation Street 30 years of brilliant drama, comedy and everything in between.
“Whether it’s sharing a wicked joke with Eileen, raising an arch eyebrow behind the bar of the Rovers, or giving some feckless man the full force of her tongue, Liz is a true Coronation Street icon.
“And while we wish Bev well when she leaves to take on new challenges mid-next year, hopefully Weatherfield hasn’t seen the last of Liz!”
Earlier this year, Callard signed up to star in the play The Thunder Girls, which boasted an all-female cast, production team and director.
The show, written by agent and talent manager Melanie Blake, follows a 1980s girl band who are reuniting after greed, ego and envy destroyed the group and their friendships.
Following its run in Manchester in September, the production will tour the UK next year.
Callard told the magazine that roles for women over the age of 50 are a rarity, adding: “But I’m 62 and recently I was doing three jobs at once.
“It made me realise how I was privileged to have the opportunity to do so when so many women my age no longer get the chance.”
Bemoaning ageism in the industry, she added that she hoped “ageist bosses, of which there are many, take note of how successful this show is and it starts the ball rolling on helping other women my age get the roles they still deserve”.
During her time in Weatherfield, Liz’s stand-out storylines have included being married to Jim McDonald and Vernon Tomlin, having an affair with Johnny Connor, and being involved in a number of feuds.