Les Dennis set for dramatic Coronation Street exit
Actor Les Dennis has quit Coronation Street and is preparing for a dramatic exit storyline.
Having joined the ITV soap in 2014 as Michael Rodwell, Dennis said he would "treasure" his time on the show, but it was the "right time" to leave.
The 62-year-old said: "As a lifelong fan of the show, playing Michael Rodwell in Coronation Street has been a dream come true.
"Becoming part of the ITV Coronation Street family has been a wonderful experience and my decision to leave was a hard one."
The actor took a sabbatical from the show earlier this year to produce and star in a production of Alan Bleasdale's Down The Dock Road in Liverpool.
Dennis, who previously spent 15 years presenting Family Fortunes, said: " I always knew that the time would come when I would want the freedom to do more projects, and now feels like the right time.
"The talented team of writers and producers have come up with a very dramatic exit for Michael on the show which will be exciting to film.
"I'll treasure the two and a half years I have been part of such an iconic show and move on with very fond memories, so many lovely friends and colleagues and an ambition achieved."
Michael became a Coronation Street stalwart after a dramatic debut as a burglar.
But his storyline was one of redemption as he began a relationship with Gail Platt (Helen Worth), who forgave her uninvited guest.
Michael was soon working as a taxi driver for Steve MacDonald, and became a regular at the Rovers.
However, his marriage to Gail hit trouble soon after the wedding, when he discovered his new wife had lied to him about his son.
Michael has also clashed with local builder and soap villain Pat Phelan (Connor McIntyre).
Coronation Street producer Kate Oates said: "We're very sad to see Les leave Coronation Street as he's an enormously popular and talented actor. He's brought warmth, wit and integrity to the character of Michael.
"We have worked on giving him a great story to ensure a fantastic and dramatic end to his time on the Street. I can't wait to see it unfold. He will be very much missed and we wish him many successes with his new ventures."