Liz McDonald has departed Coronation Street – without an exit storyline airing on-screen.
The character was set for an explosive exit from Coronation Street this summer but the pandemic-induced shutdown meant actress Beverley Callard’s final scenes were delayed, and with the star unavailable now that the soap is filming again, her exit has already occurred off screen and fans won’t be seeing the character again.
The leopard-print loving legend got a mention in this week’s episodes when Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) explained his mother’s sudden absence with a reference to her being in Spain, admitting he needed her support as his young son Oliver battles an incurable illness.
Fans can assume Liz quietly left Weatherfield for sunnier climes without a fuss, to accommodate the fact her departure should’ve been shot during the three-month pause in production during the UK lockdown.
A Coronation Street source confirmed to RadioTimes.com that Callard, whose exit was announced last year, is now out of contract from the show and is unlikely to be seen again in the near future.
Although the situation can’t be helped, it’s a sadly muted farewell to one of the show’s most popular characters, following almost a year of hype and build-up to her goodbye.
Thankfully the door has been left open for Liz, who has already left and returned several times since first appearing back in 1989, so it’s unlikely this is the last we’ve seen of her.
A planned development in Oliver’s illness story, teased by producer Iain MacLeod to RadioTimes.com in our 2020 preview back in January, would’ve seen Liz clash with Steve over trying to help him through his nightmare, only to make it worse and decide she was better off away from Weatherfield. Presumably this part of the plot has now been forcibly shelved.
The pandemic’s impact on soaps has also been felt on the other side of the world in Neighbours, where the departure of Pierce Greyson was affected by the latest restrictions in the Australian state of Victoria.
Actor Tim Robards was forced to leave a month earlier than planned due to the latest lockdown in Melbourne, where the soap is filmed, to travel home to Sydney or risk missing the birth of his first child. Don Hany has been drafted in as a last-minute recast for the character’s exit storyline, which hits UK screens in November 2020.