Coronation Street is saying goodbye to Emily Bishop, as its longest serving female star Eileen Derbyshire decides to take an ‘extended break’ from the soap.
The actress has been a regular presence in the show since 1961 playing ‘The Bish’ and has become a fan favourite.
But after over 50 years in ITV’s soap, Eileen is said to have asked producers for six months off.
An insider told The Sun: ‘Eileen asked for a few months off from filming and she is due to leave early in the New Year. She is obviously a big loss to the show, even if it really is temporary. And so many other popular cast members are heading for the door.’
Eileen Derbyshire when she first took to the cobbles to play Emily in 1961
How her temporary exit will translate in the show is yet to be announced, although rumours point to having her character embark on a travelling adventure to South America with her ecologist nephew Spider.
The former owner of No.3 should be leaving the series early in 2016, and even though her return is promised for July, fans aren’t entirely sure the 85 year old will get back to the cobbles.
Eileen’s character has dealt with a variety of storylines, most recently when she was called a ‘homophobe’ and a ‘bigot’ earlier this year by Antony Cotton’s character Sean Tully.
In 2010, Eileen saw her 54-year career recognised when she was made an MBE by the Queen for services to British drama.
The veteran actress’ deserved break comes after other cast members in the show also asked to be temporarily let go.
David Neilson, who plays café owner Roy, announced earlier this month he is leaving the show on a short hiatus, to ‘recharge’ and join a theatre show.
Brooke Vincent and Les Dennis are also taking short breaks from the show, while Alison King, who plays Carla Connor, will be absent from the cobbles for longer as she’ll be taking a ‘sabbatical’ next year because of ‘creative reasons’.