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Coronation Street star Helen Worth to leave after 50 years
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Coronation Street star Helen Worth to leave after 50 years

The long-serving Coronation Street actor Helen Worth is to leave the ITV soap opera after starring as Gail Rodwell, formerly Gail Platt, for 50 years.

Worth, who will step down at the end of the year after what ITV has described as a “major storyline for the Platt family”, joined the soap in 1974 and will celebrate her golden anniversary next month.

The actor said: “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 made the decision at the start of the year and spoke to the producers who were very kind and understanding.”

Worth’s storylines include some of the most high-profile in the soap’s history. Her character, Gail, was pushed down the stairs after taking her son’s girlfriend to an abortion clinic, was mistakenly jailed on suspicion of murder after her husband’s attempt to fake his death went wrong, and supported her 13-year-old daughter when she became pregnant – a plotline that prompted outrage when it aired in 2000, with campaign groups claiming it may “encourage teenage sex”.

Gail also married the serial killer Richard Hillman, resulting in the Platt family being kidnapped and driven into a canal – a finale that drew so many viewers in 2003 that it caused a National Grid power surge during the commercial break.

In 2014, Worth won the outstanding achievement award at the British Soap Awards for her portrayal of Gail. She was awarded an MBE in the 2022 birthday honours for services to drama.

“The words ‘legend’ and ‘icon’ get used a lot these days, but they genuinely do apply to Gail and to Helen Worth,” said the executive producer Iain MacLeod. “In Helen’s hands, Gail has been a huge part of Coronation Street for five decades and at the centre of some of the most memorable storylines – often deriving from her catastrophically bad luck in choosing husbands!”

Worth’s departure was announced after a difficult spell for the world’s longest-running soap. Fans and previous cast members have spoken out to criticise the quality of its plotlines, with the actor Maureen Lipman commenting in 2022: “We’ve come to a point in Corrie now where people are getting murdered in knicker factories. We’re having domestic abuse … anything that ticks the box of social problems in the 21st century is going to be in.”

Since April Coronation Street has had a new producer, Kate Brooks, who moved from the same role at Emmerdale. Worth’s departure is one of the first high-profile announcements since Brooks’s appointment.

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“I have been truly blessed to have been given the most incredible scripts week in, week out, and to have worked with fantastic actors, directors and a brilliant crew,” said Worth, 73. “The past 50 years have flown by and I don’t think the fact that I am leaving has quite sunk in yet.”

Source: theguardian.com