Key cast member to leave Community

Yvette Nicole Brown, who played Shirley in the community college-set sitcom, is leaving for personal reasons

The trials of cult sitcom Community are manifold – for years it’s existed on the edge of cancellation, had its creator Dan Harmon fired (later re-hired), lost key cast members Donald Glover and Chevy Chase, and then finally had the plug pulled last year.

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Luckily, Video On Demand service Yahoo Screen was on hand to save the show for a sixth season – but now Community has been dealt a new blow as another member of its original cast will not return.

Yvette Nicole Brown, who played religious mother-of-two Shirley for five seasons, has been released from her contract to care for her ill father.

“My dad needs daily care and he needs me,” she told TVGuide.

“The idea of being away 16 hours a day for five months, I couldn’t do it. It was a difficult decision for me to make, but I had to choose my dad.”

Brown was unsure how her character’s absence would be explained, but said she was open to guest appearances and had faith the show’s producers could make it work. “I’m glad it won’t be hard for them to explain where she is. She has three kids, a degree and a business.”

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She added: “It’s very bittersweet. I can take care of my dad but won’t be with my TV family. I don’t want the fans to worry; it’s going to be fine.”