Craig Charles quits Coronation Street
Craig Charles has quit 'Coronation Street'.
The 50-year-old actor revealed he is leaving the ITV soap in order to work on the sci-fi sitcom 'Red Dwarf' for digital channel Dave, despite the show's bosses pleading with him to stay.
An ITV insider said: "This is a massive blow for Corrie. Craig is a popular cast member and his shoes will be hard to fill. He first announced he was thinking of leaving weeks ago, but bosses tried to change his mind with a huge pay rise."
However Craig - who was already believed to be earning an estimated £200,000 each year from playing Lloyd Mullaney - was reportedly unconvinced by the offers from the soap and now bosses are worried other stars may follow, especially after Alison King who plays Carla Connor recently announced she was also leaving.
The insider told The Sun newspaper: "Corrie is still doing well as far as viewing figures are concerned but certain cast members are unhappy with the direction it is going in. A lot of people feel that it has changed considerably in recent years.
"These two departures might not be the last - and if big names keep leaving that could prove to be a major problem for Corrie.
"Soaps rely on their big names and Corrie can't afford to keep losing theirs."
Despite his decision to quit after a decade in the role, with his final scenes set to air in September, the father-of-three described his time on the soap as "fantastic".
He said: "I've had a fantastic ten years and am sad to leave.
"Lloyd has become a huge part of my life and I have some amazing friends with whom I will always keep in touch. But I feel that I owe it to my colleagues on 'Red Dwarf' to join them in filming the new series at the end of the year."