Ryan Thomas to exit Coronation Street after 15 years as Jason Grimshaw

"The decision to leave was an extremely difficult one," said the Corrie actor today

Actor Ryan Thomas is to exit Coronation Street next year.

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The Corrie star, who has played builder Jason Grimshaw since December 2000, is hoping to pursue fresh roles away from Weatherfield.

Speaking today, the 31-year-old said: “It has been a great privilege to be in Coronation Street for the past 15 years.

“The cast and crew are amongst the best in the business and to have had the chance to be a part of it for so long has been an amazing experience.

“The decision to leave was an extremely difficult one but I felt that now was the right time to spread my wings and try other roles.

“I’m just excited now to see what exit storyline the writers give Jason.”

Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn added: “Ryan has been an important part of Coronation Street for 15 years. We wish him every success when he moves on next year and we appreciate his desire to try new things.

“In the coming months he’ll be at the heart of a massive story, affecting not just his family but the Websters and the Windasses too which will take us well into 2016.”

Unlucky-in-love Jason has been involved with a string of Weatherfield women during his decade and a half on the cobbles, including Sarah Platt, Candice Stowe, Maria Connor and Eva Price.

More recently, he has had a one-night-stand with Alya Nazir, which has yet to become common knowledge, even though she is set to marry Gary Windass in the coming months.

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.

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And visit our dedicated Coronation Street page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.