Coronation Street legend Helen Worth has announced she is leaving the soap.

The actress who celebrates 50 years on the ITV show next month has made the difficult decision to step down from her role as Gail Rodwell, but most commonly known as Gail Platt, at the end of the year.

Half a century after she first walked onto the cobbles, viewers will see Helen bid farewell to the street in a major storyline for the her family.

It’s thought her son Nick Tilsley (Ben Price), daughter Sarah Platt (Tina O’Brien), son David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd), granddaughter Bethany Platt (Lucy Fallon) and mother Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) will all be involved.

In her nearly 50-year stint on the soap, she has been married five times, including Brian Tilsey (Christopher Quinten), who was tragically stabbed to death, and Martin Platt (Sean Wilson), one of the soap’s long-serving characters.

Helen has been at the centre of an array of explosive storylines, including her daughter Sarah’s teenage pregnancy, and the death of her fourth debt-ridden husband Joe McIntyre (Reece Dinsdale) during a failed life insurance scheme.

Coronation Street legend Helen Worth has announced she is leaving the soap

Coronation Street legend Helen Worth has announced she is leaving the soap

Coronation Street legend Helen Worth has announced she is leaving the soap

The actress who celebrates 50 years on the ITV show next month has made the difficult decision to step down from her role as Gail Rodwell - best known as Gail Platt - at the end of the year

The actress who celebrates 50 years on the ITV show next month has made the difficult decision to step down from her role as Gail Rodwell - best known as Gail Platt - at the end of the year

The actress who celebrates 50 years on the ITV show next month has made the difficult decision to step down from her role as Gail Rodwell – best known as Gail Platt – at the end of the year

One of Gail’s most iconic moments came in a 2003 episode when she found out her husband Richard Hillman (Brian Capron) was a serial killer.

Helen will start filming her exit story next month and the emotional scenes will be on screen at the end of the year.

Helen said in a statement on Wednesday: ‘This year felt like the perfect time to leave the show after celebrating 50 years in the most wonderful job on the most wonderful street in the world.’

‘I made the decision at the start of the year and spoke to the producers who were very kind and understanding.

‘I have been truly blessed to have been given the most incredible scripts week in week out, and to have worked with fantastic actors, directors and a brilliant crew.

‘The past 50 years have flown by and I don’t think the fact that I am leaving has quite sunk in yet.’

Executive Producer Iain Macleod added: ‘The words ‘legend’ and ‘icon’ get used a lot these days but they genuinely do apply to Gail and to Helen Worth.’

‘However, given her humility, I know Helen won’t thank me for saying so! In Helen’s hands, Gail has been a huge part of Coronation Street for five decades and at the centre of some of the most memorable storylines – often deriving from her catastrophically bad luck in choosing husbands!’

Helen will start filming her exit story next month and the emotional scenes will be on screen at the end of the year

Helen will start filming her exit story next month and the emotional scenes will be on screen at the end of the year

Helen will start filming her exit story next month and the emotional scenes will be on screen at the end of the year

One of her most iconic moments came when she was nearly drowned by her killer husband Richard Hillman

One of her most iconic moments came when she was nearly drowned by her killer husband Richard Hillman

One of her most iconic moments came when she was nearly drowned by her killer husband Richard Hillman

It all culminated in the famous 2003 episode when Richard attempted to end his own life, and the Platts, by driving their car into a canal

It all culminated in the famous 2003 episode when Richard attempted to end his own life, and the Platts, by driving their car into a canal

It all culminated in the famous 2003 episode when Richard attempted to end his own life, and the Platts, by driving their car into a canal

‘Her ill-fated marriage to Richard Hillman was one of the most ground-breaking stories in soap history and cemented Gail’s already established status as one of the Corrie greats.’

‘As the matriarch of the Platt clan, her affectionately prickly relationships with her kids and flighty mum Audrey epitomise what makes the show great: complicated family dynamics brought to life impeccably by Helen’s dramatic and comedic chops, alongside those of her fictional clan.

‘Gail has given us countless hours of entertainment but it should also be said that Helen herself is a consummate professional and a thoroughly good egg.’

‘Everyone connected to the show will miss having her around the place just as much as the viewers will miss having her on their screens and we wish her all the very best for the future.

In her time on the Corrie cobbles, Helen's character Gail has been married five times, including Brian Tilsey (pictured), who was stabbed to death

In her time on the Corrie cobbles, Helen's character Gail has been married five times, including Brian Tilsey (pictured), who was stabbed to death

In her time on the Corrie cobbles, Helen’s character Gail has been married five times, including Brian Tilsey (pictured), who was stabbed to death

Helen made her debut as a young Gail in 1974

Helen made her debut as a young Gail in 1974

Helen made her debut as a young Gail in 1974

One of her more groundbreaking plots came when Gail’s teenage daughter Sarah Platt fell pregnant at the age of 13

While her exit storyline has been kept top secret some fans have speculated Gail will be killed off in her final episode, citing the character's 2021 heart attack

While her exit storyline has been kept top secret some fans have speculated Gail will be killed off in her final episode, citing the character's 2021 heart attack

While her exit storyline has been kept top secret some fans have speculated Gail will be killed off in her final episode, citing the character’s 2021 heart attack

While her exit storyline has been kept top secret some fans have speculated Gail will be killed off in her final episode, citing the character’s 2021 heart attack.

The storyline three years ago saw Gail suffering a minor heart attack after getting into a row with her son David Platt

Helen made her debut as a young Gail on 29 July 1974, first moving into the street as a wild teen intent on causing trouble.  

One of Gail’s most iconic moments came when she featured in a special double episode with her husband Richard Hillman in 2003, where she learned that he was a serial killer.

The famous episode, which featured a slew of one-liners, saw Richard confess he had killed several people on the cobbles, including Maxine Peacock.

It all culminated in the famous 2003 episode when Richard attempted to end his own life, and the Platts, by driving their car into a canal.

Screaming the famous line: ‘This is it! I love you!’ he plunged the car into the water, leaving teen Sarah to desperately try and free her daughter and brother David.

While the Platt family were able to escape, it was the end of the road for Richard who plunged to the bottom of the canal after taking his final breath.

Her quest to find love has never been smooth, as she was later conned out of her entire savings by Lewis Archer (Nigel Havers), as revenge to getting in the way of his love for her mother Audrey. 

Gail was nearly imprisoned for murdering her husband Joe Thompson in 2010 after he accidentally drowned while attempting to take his death

Gail was nearly imprisoned for murdering her husband Joe Thompson in 2010 after he accidentally drowned while attempting to take his death

Gail was nearly imprisoned for murdering her husband Joe Thompson in 2010 after he accidentally drowned while attempting to take his death

In her nearly 50-year stint on the soap, she has been married five times (pictured with Phil Nail played by Clive Russell)

In her nearly 50-year stint on the soap, she has been married five times (pictured with Phil Nail played by Clive Russell)

In her nearly 50-year stint on the soap, she has been married five times (pictured with Phil Nail played by Clive Russell)

In 2014 Gail struck up a romance with Michael Rodwell, played by Les Dennis

In 2014 Gail struck up a romance with Michael Rodwell, played by Les Dennis

In 2014 Gail struck up a romance with Michael Rodwell, played by Les Dennis 

In 2009, Gail tied the knot with Joe McIntyre, but remained unaware that he was drowning in thousands of pounds of debt, and plotted to fake his death and claim a huge life insurance payout.

Abandoning Gail on the shore, Joe sailed his boat into the middle of the lake, but accidentally drowned. 

When police investigated Joe’s death, Gail was accused of murdering her husband, as a couple had previously spotted the pair in the middle of an argument.

Gail fears the worst, especially when former neighbour Tracy Barlow makes a false testimony against her claiming that Gail admitted in their prison cell to killing Joe with a rolling pin, but is relieved when she is found not guilty. 

Gail is no stranger to comedic moments either, including a legendary cobbles fight with Eileen Grimshaw, after learning her son Todd had got Sarah pregnant. 

More recently, Gail has been dealing with the fallout of her grandson Max’s grooming at the hands of far-right extremists, to the despair of her son David (Jack P Shepherd).

Thankfully, Helen hasn’t had quite a dramatic life as her character, and once admitted she would ‘be in a mental institution’ if her life was like Gail’s.

Viewers will see Helen bid farewell to the street in a major storyline for the her family, which includes son son David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd)

Viewers will see Helen bid farewell to the street in a major storyline for the her family, which includes son son David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd)

Viewers will see Helen bid farewell to the street in a major storyline for the her family, which includes son son David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd)

More recently, Gail has been dealing with the fallout of her grandson Max's grooming at the hands of far-right extremists, to the despair of her son David

More recently, Gail has been dealing with the fallout of her grandson Max's grooming at the hands of far-right extremists, to the despair of her son David

More recently, Gail has been dealing with the fallout of her grandson Max’s grooming at the hands of far-right extremists, to the despair of her son David

She married her school teacher partner Trevor Dawson, 66, in 2013, with the London wedding attended by her castmates.

In 2001 she was left devastated when her first marriage ended after 21 years together. 

Liverpudlian actor Michael Angelis admitted that he had cheated on Worth in 1995, but the British star forgave him. However, their split six years later came about because Angelis strayed again – this time with model Jennifer Khalastchi.

Helen was awarded an MBE for services to drama at Windsor Castle in January 2023, collecting her honour from Prince William. 

Speaking after she was awarded with the honour, Helen said: ‘(William) was so lovely, so easy. He asked all the right questions. He was very complimentary.’

‘It just feels absolutely wonderful. To collect an MBE is very special.’

‘To have had a job and one that I love, and to be able to work in it is quite extraordinary. And then to get an award for it is just the icing on the cake.

‘I have a little time off to begin with but I will walk in with my medal the day I do.

‘There are quite a few medals scattered around the cast. They’ve all already been given them. I’m bringing up the rear really.’

Helen's Corrie castmates flooded the official Instagram announcement with tributes

Helen's Corrie castmates flooded the official Instagram announcement with tributes

Helen’s Corrie castmates flooded the official Instagram announcement with tributes 

Helen’s co-star Sally Dynevor reacted to the news of her exit live on Loose Women on Wednesday.

Speaking on Loose Women, she said: ‘She really is a Corrie legend. Helen phoned me yesterday but I didn’t think it was going to break until Friday. I’m gonna miss her so much. Helen was there before I was there and she was a guiding light. She’s a wonderful actress.’

Many other cast members offered sweet tributes to Helen under the soap’s Instagram post announcing her departure.

Among them was Tina O’Brien, who plays Gail’s daughter Sarah Platt, writing: ‘Can’t put into words how much I love and adore Helen.’

Lucy Fallon, who plays granndaughter Bethany, shared a sweet crying emoji, while Sally Carman (Abi Franklin), commented: ‘Wonderful Helen, she will be sorely missed. A really special person.’

Colson Smith (Craig Tinker), commented: ‘A Corrie Icon,’ and Samia Longchambon (Maria Connor), posted: ‘We will miss Helen so much.’

In February 2024 it was reported that Helen signed a new one-year contract on Coronation Street worth £250,000. 

The soap has been suffering a ‘rocky patch’, a source told The Sun at the time- following a drop in its Christmas viewing figures, which saw it fail to make it into the top 10 most viewed shows.

But ‘dedicated’ Helen, who is said to receive £2,500 per episode, reportedly signed a new one-year deal in a boost for the soap.

The Platts have been a staple of the show for a long time, but viewings figures have declined.

Helen was awarded an MBE for services to drama at Windsor Castle in January 2023, collecting her honour from Prince William

Helen was awarded an MBE for services to drama at Windsor Castle in January 2023, collecting her honour from Prince William

Helen was awarded an MBE for services to drama at Windsor Castle in January 2023, collecting her honour from Prince William 

Helen pictured as Gail Potter with Cheryl Murray (as Suzie Birchall) in 1977

Helen pictured as Gail Potter with Cheryl Murray (as Suzie Birchall) in 1977

Helen pictured as Gail Potter with Cheryl Murray (as Suzie Birchall) in 1977

Thankfully, Helen hasn't had quite a dramatic life as her character, and once admitted she would 'be in a mental institution' if her life was like Gail's

Thankfully, Helen hasn't had quite a dramatic life as her character, and once admitted she would 'be in a mental institution' if her life was like Gail's

Thankfully, Helen hasn’t had quite a dramatic life as her character, and once admitted she would ‘be in a mental institution’ if her life was like Gail’s

Helen pictured with Amanda Barrie as Alma Sedgewick in a 1982 episode

Helen pictured with Amanda Barrie as Alma Sedgewick in a 1982 episode

Helen pictured with Amanda Barrie as Alma Sedgewick in a 1982 episode

The Christmas Day episode was viewed by 2.6million – down almost three quarters from 10 years ago.

In December, it was reported ITV bosses are discussing a major shake-up of its soaps which could see them screened first, or exclusively, through online streaming.

The move has been prompted by declining viewing figures, forcing budget cuts to Coronation Street and Emmerdale, say ITV sources.

Anxious bosses are desperately looking at how they can attract a new audience, as even their older viewers are watching less terrestrial TV in favour of streaming giants such as Netflix.

Following confirmation of Helen’s departure as Gail from the show, fans took to X, formerly Twitter, to express their sadness, posting: ‘What do you MEAN Helen Worth, the legend, the icon, that is Gail Platt, is leaving Corrie omg we’re never gonna witness these iconic moments again’.

‘I’m shocked I have no words’. 

‘Oh no. Helen’s one of my favourite actresses in Corrie. She’s like in the fabric of the show like Bill & Barbara & Sue. But I suppose she might want to try something new for a change.’ 

‘Wow! That’s a shame. But 50 years!! Incredible’. 

‘Gail Platt leaving is a genuine national tragedy. We need a bank holiday off for mourning. The Queen is departing from us…’

‘She will definitely be missed. One of Corrie’s all time greats’. 

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, fans were inconsolable following the legendary actress' departure from the show

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, fans were inconsolable following the legendary actress' departure from the show

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, fans were inconsolable following the legendary actress’ departure from the show

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