Actor Tony Hirst, who plays firefighter Paul Kershaw, is to depart Coronation Street later this year. A spokesperson for the show today confirmed to RadioTimes.com: "He'll leave at the end of his current contract after a dramatic year for Paul and Eileen."
Fireman Paul was first seen on the Street in December 2010 when he was deployed to the scene of the tram crash that marked the show’s 50th anniversary. He returned ten months later after Eileen Grimshaw (Sue Cleaver) got her head stuck in the railings at the Underworld factory. His subsequent relationship with her was complicated by the fact that Paul already had a wife who was suffering with Alzheimer’s.
In March this year, viewers will see a fire break out at the Rovers Return and there has already been speculation that Paul could be among the casualties of the blaze. Earlier this month, the show’s official website stated:
“Hot news from the Street: You may have read reports that the Rovers' fire will claim lives. We can now exclusively reveal that more than one person could die in the blaze which will take hold of the Rovers next month.
“Will landlady Stella fall victim to the fire? Could it be barmaid Tina? Fireman Paul? Bad guy Karl? Sunita? Gloria? Eva? Toy boy Jason? No one is safe from the killer flames...”
Coronation Street continues tomorrow at 7.30 and 8.30pm on ITV.