Michelle Collins leaves Corrie

Michelle Collins Photo: PA

Michelle Collins is leaving Coronation Street after two and a half years on the Manchester soap.

The former EastEnders star, 51, who plays Rovers Return landlady Stella Price, will quit the ITV show at the end of her contract next year.

Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn said scriptwriters were planning a memorable departure.

Collins appeared on the cobbles in June 2011, but her appearance was met with some criticism over her northern accent.

Announcing her departure, she said: "Stella Price has been a revelation to play.

"So much has happened to the character since we discovered she was Leanne's real mum.

"From catching Karl with barmaid Sunita to her near-death experience in the Rovers fire, I've loved playing Stella and will be very sorry to leave her behind."

Mr Blackburn said: "We wish Michelle every happiness as she moves on to pastures new.

"Her character has made a tremendous impact and has deservedly earned her the status of a classic Coronation Street matriarch."

He added: "When an actor decides to leave a programme like Corrie, it means the writing team can creatively scale new heights. We promise the tour de force that is Stella Price will leave with a bang."

Scriptwriters are working on an exit for Stella which will "devastate" her daughters Leanne and Eva, played by Jane Danson and Catherine Tyldesley.

She will be on screen until June.

The announcement of her departure follows news of other stars leaving the soap.

Sue Johnston has announced she will be going, while Michelle Keegan said in April that she was leaving after six years playing Tina McIntyre.