Coronation Street icon Helen Worth quits ITV soap after 50 years

Coronation Street star Helen Worth has quit the soap after 50 years.

Worth has played Gail Platt on the ITV show since 1974 and her exit will follow what has been described as “a major storyline for the Platt family”. The scenes will be filmed next month.

Speaking about her departure, Worth said: “This year felt like the perfect time to leave the show after celebrating 50 years in the most wonderful job on the most wonderful street in the world. I made the decision at the start of the year and spoke to the producers who were very kind and understanding.

“I have been truly blessed to have been given the most incredible scripts week in week out, and to have worked with fantastic actors, directors and a brilliant crew.”

The Corrie star, who plays one of the longest-running characters to ever air on TV, was due to celebrate her golden anniversary next month after over five decades on the programme.

On Tuesday (4 June) it was revealed that she was close to overtaking veteran Bill Roache’s record as Ken Barlow for number of appearances. Gail has appeared a total of 4,453 times since she first joined the show in July 1974, while Roache, 92, has made a total of 4,773 appearances as Ken since Coronation Street’s very first episode first aired on 9 December 1960.

Worth’s character Gail holds other records including being the series’ most married-female, having wed six times, one behind Steve McDonald (played by Simon Gregson). She made her mark in one of the most controversial stories of the day when her 13-year-old daughter Sarah (played by Tina O’Brien) became pregnant in 1999.


Other narrative arcs include her proximity to a number of murders, including marrying serial killer Richard Hillman (played by Brian Capron), being imprisoned for the murder of her husband Joe McIntyre (Reece Dinsdale), and locking her son David Platt in the cellar of a Bistro after she discovers he is going to kill his late wife Kylie’s murderer.

Her many street brawls with frenemy Eileen Grimshaw (Sue Cleaver) will also gone down in soap history.

Last year, Worth was awarded an MBE for services to drama. Receiving the honour from Prince William, the actor said: “It just feels absolutely wonderful. To collect an MBE is very special.”

Fans reacted to the news of the star quitting the show as they turned to X/Twitter and called it the “end of an era”.

Corrie co-star Sally Dynevor who plays Sally Webster, was halfway through an interview on Loose Women when the news broke.

Gail with her mother Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) (Shutterstock)
Gail with her mother Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) (Shutterstock)

The 61-year-old paid tribute to the star as she said, “She really is a Corrie legend. Helen phoned me yesterday but I didn’t think it was going to break until Friday. I’m gonna miss her so much. Helen was there before I was there and she was a guiding light. She’s a wonderful actress.”

Executive Producer Iain Macleod said: “The words ‘legend’ and ‘icon’ get used a lot these days but they genuinely do apply to Gail and to Helen Worth. However, given her humility, I know Helen won’t thank me for saying so! In Helen’s hands, Gail has been a huge part of Coronation Street for five decades and at the centre of some of the most memorable storylines - often deriving from her catastrophically bad luck in choosing husbands!

“Her ill-fated marriage to Richard Hillman was one of the most ground-breaking stories in soap history and cemented Gail’s already established status as one of the Corrie greats. As the matriarch of the Platt clan, her affectionately prickly relationships with her kids and flighty mum Audrey epitomise what makes the show great: complicated family dynamics brought to life impeccably by Helen’s dramatic and comedic chops, alongside those of her fictional clan.

Gail married serial killer Richard Hillman in one of the show’s biggest storylines (ITV/Coronation Street)
Gail married serial killer Richard Hillman in one of the show’s biggest storylines (ITV/Coronation Street)

“Gail has given us countless hours of entertainment but it should also be said that Helen herself is a consummate professional and a thoroughly good egg. Everyone connected to the show will miss having her around the place just as much as the viewers will miss having her on their screens and we wish her all the very best for the future.”

Coronation Street airs on ITV1 and is available to watch on ITVX.