Michelle Keegan to leave Corrie
Michelle Keegan is set to leave Coronation Street next year so that she can pursue other acting roles.
The 25-year-old beauty, who plays feisty Rovers Return barmaid Tina McIntyre, will quit the cobbles in 2014, after six years in the ITV soap.
Michelle, whose character is currently involved in a storyline where she is being a surrogate for pals Gary Windass and Izzy Armstrong, said it had been a "difficult decision" but that she felt the time was right to leave the show and take the "next step" in her career.
In a statement on the ITV website, she added: "I will miss Tina and will always be grateful to ITV and Coronation Street for giving me such an amazing role to play for my first ever acting job. Most of all I will miss the amazing people who work on the show, my acting colleagues, cast, crew, producers and writing team. I have met people who I know will be friends for life.
"I am very excited about what the coming months hold for Tina and what the future has in store for me."
The website revealed that Michelle will be on screen for a further 12 months until late spring of next year, and that her exit storyline is being worked on.
It added: "The next 12 months promises to be an exciting one for the character of Tina McIntyre starting next month with the dramatic early birth of the surrogate child she is carrying."
Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn said: ''There is more than a year of drama to come for Tina McIntyre before we bid farewell to Michelle and plans are already being made for what will be a powerful and gripping story. We will be sorry to see Michelle go but wish her every success for the future."
Her character Tina has had her fair share of dramatic storylines over the years, including dealing with the death of her father, being threatened by a loan shark and her current pregnancy story.