Debbie Rush has become one of Corrie’s best-known faces since joining the soap.
But after a dramatic nine years, I can reveal Weatherfield’s Anna Windass is saying goodbye.
Debbie handed in her notice and will stop filming the ITV show later this year.
A source said: “Debbie decided she wanted a new challenge. So when it came to signing her new one-year deal she told show boss Kate Oates — and Kieran Roberts, the show’s exec producer — she would be leaving once that was up. They completely understood and despite wanting her to stay, gave her their blessing to move on.
“Debbie wanted to give them loads of time to think of a great way to see Anna leave the cobbles.”
The star said last night: “I’ve had an amazing nine years and the decision to leave was not made lightly.
“I love playing Anna and will miss working with the fantastic cast and crew.
“I don’t know what the future holds but I am excited to explore what other acting opportunities are out there.
“I am very grateful for all the brilliant storylines I have been given during my time on Coronation Street and am very much looking forward to what is in store for Anna in the run up to my departure next year.”
Producer Kate Oates said: “It’s always sad when a huge talent like Debbie Rush decides to move to pastures new…but Debbie’s decision to pursue other roles will allow us to play an exciting exit story for Anna, which will see her fighting for her family and tackling old enemies head-on.”
She has certainly been involved in some big storylines since joining the soap in 2008.
She was Roy Cropper’s shoulder to cry on after learning his wife Hayley was dying.
Anna was blackmailed into sex by evil Pat Phelan and her daughter Faye’s underage pregnancy was also a huge talking point.
More recently, she was badly burned by a car explosion caused by David Platt and had been shacking up with serial womaniser Kevin Webster.
How Anna will be written out, and if it will be for good, is yet to be decided.
A spokeswoman for the programme added: “Debbie will leave Coronation Street at the end of the year.
“Anna Windass will be on-screen until early 2018, with plenty more drama and twists in the tale before she leaves Weatherfield. We wish Debbie every success for the future.”
She will be sorely missed.