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Helen Worth leaving U.K. soap ‘Coronation Street’ after 50 years of scandal and drama

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After 50 years in the role of the Platt family matriarch on Britain’s longest-running television program, “Coronation Street” star Helen Worth is stepping down.

The 73-year-old actor said in a statement from network ITV that “this year felt like the perfect time to leave the show after celebrating 50 years in the most wonderful job on the most wonderful street in the world.” “I spoke with the producers at the beginning of the year and made the decision; they were very understanding and kind.”

With the filming of Worth’s last scenes as Gail Rodwell getting underway, ITV referred to Worth’s impending departure as “a major storyline for the Platt family.” This autumn, those scenes will air.

Over 4,450 episodes have been produced during Worth’s decades-long run on the program, where she began as the character Gail Potter and later took on the surnames Tilsley, Platt, Hillman, McIntyre, and Rodwell through marriage. Gail witnessed some of the most thrilling and contentious storylines on “Coronation Street.”

Gail’s chaotic adolescent years, which included losing her virginity to a married man, were portrayed in the actor’s early years on the show. The first transgender character to appear on British television, Hayley Cropper, was first introduced to “Coronation Street” viewers in 1998. The outcry following the 13-year-old Sarah Louise Platt’s pregnancy in 2000 eclipsed that. When a record 17 million viewers tuned in to watch her homicidal husband Richard Hillman (Brian Capron) commit murder, Gail’s marital mishaps even caused a power surge.

Worth had a successful career; in 2014, the British Soap Awards awarded her a lifetime achievement award, and in 2019, she was nominated for a BAFTA for “must-see moment.” Worth’s “Coronation Street” performance was hailed as “legend” by executive producer Ian Macleod, who also noted that she had firmly established herself as “one of the Corrie greats.”

“Gail has provided us with endless hours of amusement,” Macleod said in the statement released by ITV. “She will be missed by everyone associated with the show just as much as she will be missed by viewers when she is absent from their screens.”

Hundreds of admirers expressed their genuine shock and sorrow in the comments section of an Instagram post wishing the celebrity farewell. “Corrie is incomprehensible without Gail.” A user questioned, “Surely this calls for a national bank holiday.”

Character Gail’s five marriages, all of which ended in divorce or death, were mourned by some. Please give her a happy ending at last, a fan implored the network.

Actor Alex Bain revealed on the “Coronation Street” Instagram a day before Worth’s announcement that he would be leaving the show after 16 years in the role of Simon Barlow.

As they devotedly watched performers like Bain on screen, fans talked about how “Coronation Street” had stuck with them over the years.

A fan wrote, “I was 13 when he appeared on the show, and now I’m 28.” Castmate Jane Danson said it marked the “end of an era” for Bain.

Worth, meanwhile, expressed shock that her half-century career was coming to an end.

She said in the statement, “I have been incredibly fortunate to work with amazing actors, directors, and a fantastic crew, and to be given the most incredible scripts week in and week out.” “These fifty years have gone by so quickly, and it still hasn’t really hit me that I’m leaving.”

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