Beverley Callard has announced she is quitting Coronation Street after 30 years playing Liz McDonald, but has promised her character isn’t being killed off.
The soap star has been a regular on the cobbles for three decades, starring in some of the ITV show’s biggest storylines, but has finally decided to call time on her role as The Rovers’ former landlady.
Appearing on the ITV talk show to discuss her exit, she said: “I did think, because (Coronation Street is) 60 next year, they’re going to kill me off.
“They’ve said they’re not, but they have said she’ll go with a bang.”
She added of her flamboyantly-dressed character: “Wait til you see her Christmas Day outfit - oh my goodness, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
Callard added that she was expecting to be on screen for a while yet, probably until the summer, and said that the news was so recent she’d only had the chance to speak to a couple of castmates about it.
She said: “I told some of them last night - Simon Gregson, who plays my son Steve, and Kate Ford who plays Tracy Barlow. They’re really sad but we’ll still see each other.”
The actress, 62, said that she liked to socialise with Gregson and his wife, revealing: “We do get drunk quite often.”
Callard has taken a couple of breaks from the soap before, including two months off in 2016 while she sought treatment for clinical depression, but now plans on leaving the cobbles for good to take on other roles.
She will continue touring her stage show The Thunder Girls, a comedy starring four 50-plus women, and said that it had been a large part of the decision to quit Corrie which she admitted had caused her “sleepless nights”.
Talking to OK!, she said: "I’m sick of ageism in the industry: Although I’ve had to leave the safety net of being in Coronation Street to do this, I’m hoping that 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."
Callard first joined Corrie as Liz McDonald in 1989, having had a brief role as a different character in 1984, and her storylines have included being the victim of abuse and kidnap, having a high-profile affair, and of course many scenes behind the bar of The Rovers Return.