Coronation Street actress Eileen Derbyshire, who has played the role of Emily Bishop since 1961, is to take a break from the ITV soap.
RadioTimes.com can confirm that the 84-year-old star has asked for some time away from filming and is set to take leave in 2016, when Emily will be seen visiting her nephew Spider in South America.
A show source added to 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, because she’s one of the most recognisable characters on the cobbles. And so many other popular cast members are heading for the door.”
Eileen Derbyshire has been a mainstay of Corrie since its earliest days, having first appeared as Emily in January 1961. Only William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, has done a longer stint, having been present since episode one.
Over the decades, Emily has seen beloved husband Ernie shot dead and was almost coerced into a suicide pact with bigamist Arnold Swain. More recent episodes have seen her express concern about Ken’s growing closeness to Cathy’s sister Nessa.
Other cast members set to exit temporarily from Coronation Street include Alison King (Carla), David Neilson (Roy), Les Dennis (Michael) and Brooke Vincent (Sophie).
You can watch a 60-second rundown of the coming week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.
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