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Michael Le Vell to take a break from Coronation Street

Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell will take a break from the show to get help for "personal issues", ITV has said.

The 49-year-old actor, who plays mechanic Kevin Webster on the soap, only recently returned to Weatherfield's famous cobbled street after being cleared of child sex offences.

Michael Le Vell has played the character Kevin Webster for more than 30 years. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

It follows recent newspaper reports that Le Vell took cocaine in the run-up to his four-week trial last year, where he was found not guilty of 12 offences.

An ITV spokeswoman said, "Coronation Street and Michael Le Vell have mutually agreed that he will take a break from the programme whilst he seeks professional help for personal issues."

Le Vell, who has starred in Corrie for more than 30 years, will appear on the show from late March for about six weeks in episodes recorded previously.

Les Dennis to join Coronation Street

Les Dennis is to join the cast of Coronation Street as a petty criminal who breaks into the home of a family on the famous street.

Les Dennis will join Coronation Street as petty criminal Michael Rogers Credit: PA

Though the exact storyline details have not been revealed, the former Family Fortunes host will play Michael Rogers, who "will find himself caught up in the lives of a family on the street after breaking into their house," the soap said.

"I am so thrilled to be joining the cast of Coronation Street," Dennis said. "It has always been my favourite television programme."

The 60-year-old entertainer will start filming next week and will appear on screen in late March.

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Coronation Street named best serial drama at NTAs

Coronation Street has been named best serial drama at the National Television Awards.

David Neilson who plays Roy Cropper accepts the National Television Award for best serial drama. Credit: ITV

Receiving the award, David Neilson who plays Roy Cropper told the crowd: "The reaction to shows like ours and EastEnders, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks - they create a feeling of community.

"Occasionally you get a huge reaction from a story and you realise how important these shows are because when people laugh together, cry together you get community."

Watch the National Television Awards live on ITV and you can catch up later on ITV Player.

Samaritans calls surge after Coronation Street suicide

The climax of Coronation Street's controversial right-to-die plot has led to a surge in calls to The Samaritans.

The charity, who worked with ITV on developing the storyline, said calls to its helpline went up by almost a third yesterday compared to the week before.

We are pleased that the Coronation Street production team acted responsibly by consulting with Samaritans about this controversial storyline.

The inclusion of Samaritans' contact details at the end of the episode was helpful in encouraging those who were affected by the programme to get in touch.

Our initial results show that calls to our helpline between 5pm yesterday and 5am this morning were 30% higher than during the same period last week, although these are only partial figures.

– Chief executive of The Samaritans Catherine Johnstone

If you are in distress or need some support, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day on 08457 90 90 90 or click here for their website.

For those in the Republic of Ireland, the number is 1850 60 90 90.

Corrie's 'right to die episode' pulls in 10.6 million viewers

Last night's Coronation Street episode, which culminated in the controversial right to die scene and Hayley Cropper's death, pulled in a peak audience of 10.6 million viewers, an ITV spokeswoman said.

Roy (played by David Neilson) and Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh) in last night's episode. Credit: ITV/Coronation Street

More than 100,000 tweets were sent about the programme, with around 8,000 messages being tweeted every minute towards the end of the episode, she added.

If you are in distress or need some support, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day on 08457 90 90 90 or click here for their website.

For those in the Republic of Ireland, the number is 1850 60 90 90.

Corries actress Julie Hesmondhalgh: I'll miss Hayley

Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh has described her departure from the popular TV soap as the "end of a really long and lovely story for us".

She said that saying goodbye to Hayley Crocker, her character of 16 years, was "breaking my heart as well".

Coronation Street actress Julie Hesmondhalgh Credit: ITV Central

The actress said she was "amazed" that people have stuck with the storyline of her struggle with cancer "as much as they have".

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Corrie actress pleased Hayley's story has sparked debate

Coronation Street actress Julie Hesmondhalgh has said there has been a great responsibility attached to her character - Hayley Cropper's - departing storyline.

Julie Hesmondhalgh says she is pleased her Coronation Street storyline has provoked debate. Credit: ITV Daybreak

'Hayley' is set to depart the soap by taking her own life while suffering from terminal cancer - a decision that provoked a public debate on the 'right to die' issue.

Speaking on Daybreak this morning, Julie said: "It's been absolutely brilliant that it has started this conversation about the right to die bill. I couldn't be more pleased about that. That's all you can hope for is that people talk about these things in a real way and a new way."

Coronation Street's first Muslim family to move in

Jimi Mistry pictured with Strictly Come Dancing dancer Flavia Cacae. The pair married in December. Credit: PA

Coronation Street is to get its first Muslim family in the soap's 53-year history, according to a report.

The Daily Star says relatives of current character Kal Nazir, played by former EastEnders actor Jimy Mistry, will soon become permanent residents of the Street.

"We've established that Kal's two kids, his daughter and son, live with his mum and dad," executive producer Stuart Blackburn said.

"We've already cast his dad, Sharif, who is retired. He's not rich but he's made enough money he doesn't need to work."

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