Coronation Street legend Malcolm Hebden has announced his permanent exit from the role of Norris Cole.
The actor, who portrayed Norris on the ITV soap for more than 1,600 episodes since 1994, quit acting last year after suffering a major heart attack in 2017.
Since his health scare, Hebden has returned to the soap to make numerous cameos, but he’s now calling time on his career on the cobbles.
“I absolutely adored playing Norris and I was pleased to be able to return briefly after my operation,” he said in a statement to Digital Spy.
“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.”
Corrie producer Iain MacLeod said fans will be “desperately sad” to see the legend go, adding: “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 spokesperson for the soap said: “Whilst Malcolm enjoys his retirement at home, Norris will reside at Stillwaters off screen and will continue to be referenced in scripts.”
Although Hebden established the character of Norris in 1994, his first appearance on the soap came in 1974, playing Mavis Riley’s Spanish love interest Carlos.
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm on ITV, with occasional Friday episodes airing for one-hour blocks at 7.30pm.
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