She is the show’s longest-running female cast-member, but Coronation Street actress Eileen Derbyshire, 85, is set to quit the ITV soap after taking an extended 12-month break – disappointing her fans who were hoping she would soon return to the cobbles.
According to The Sun, the veteran performer – who has played Emily Bishop in the drama since 1961 – will retire from the cobbles after nearly six decades, following a prolonged sabbatical that she took late last year.
A source said: “Eileen has been off for a long time, and there is no expectation that she will be back. All of her cast mates have accepted she won’t be returning. She’s 85 and has been out of the show for a year, so she probably would have found it tough to get back into the fast pace of filming.”
Her departure will be the latest in a long line of emotional exits for the show’s most famous stars, who grace TV screens up to five times a week. In recent years, Michelle Keegan quit to embark on new career opportunities such as Our Girl, while Anne Kirkbride – who played Deirdre Barlow – died from breast cancer in January 2015. Meanwhile, Jean Alexander – best known to British television viewers as Hilda Ogden – died in October.