Coronation Street’s Malcolm Hebden has retired from the cobbles, with Norris Cole exiting after 27 years.
Norris has been a staple on the cobbles for as long as most of us can remember, but quit acting last year after suffering a heart attack.
He has now told The Sun: ‘I absolutely adored playing Norris and I was pleased to be able to return briefly after my operation.
‘It took a great deal of courage to make the decision to retire.
‘But I had come to realise that although the mind was willing the body was not so much.’
Producer Ian MacLeod added: ‘Norris became an all-time great character, whose lemon-lipped barbs will be remembered forever.
‘But, in his brilliant double acts with Emily, Rita and more recently Mary, Malcolm has left us with countless fantastic memories.’
A Corrie spokesperson added: ‘Whilst Malcolm enjoys his retirement at home, Norris will reside at Stillwaters off screen and will continue to be referenced in scripts’.
Turns out you can’t get rid of him that easily!
Malcolm, 81, has appeared in more than 1,600 episodes since he arrived on the cobbles almost three decades ago.
He first appeared in 1994 and quickly proved himself as a legend as he manned The Kabin newsagents, becoming the gossip we know and love.
His friendships with Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox), Mary Taylor (Patti Clare) and Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire) have provided years of laughs for fans, and the character is sure to be missed.
In storylines over the past couple of years, he and Ken Barlow (William Roache) continued to cause mischief at their retirement complex, Stillwater, even formulating a plan to escape at one point.
Over the course of his time on the cobbles, he’s also had some iconic moments such as winning a drag competition dressed as Eartha Kitt in 2001, and being held hostage by (and then later marrying) Mary.
Meanwhile, in 2019, in a scene that fans are sure to remember him by, he bid a sweet farewell to the street in a rare moment of sincerity.
‘I shall miss this street and the people on it,’ he said. ‘Goodbye old friends.’
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