Coronation Street actor Malcolm Hebden has waved goodbye to the cobbles after 27 years.
The 81-year-old had played gossipy Norris Cole in the ITV soap since 1994 but has decided to bow out, reported The Sun.
Hebden is leaving the show after suffering a heart attack in 2017, which he later shared was nearly fatal.
He said: “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,” he went on.
“But I had come to realise that although the mind was willing the body was not so much.”
Norris is still alive in the soap, but moved into a care home in 2019.
Actor Hebden’s decision means that the character will not be seen in the soap again, however The Sun quoted a Corrie spokesperson as saying he would “continue to be referenced in scripts”.
Hebden first appeared on the cobbles in 1974 as Mavis’s Spanish boyfriend, then 20 years later was cast as Norris.
Soap fans were sad to hear that the actor was leaving Weatherfield.
“How very sad, but happy retirement to Malcolm. Great character,” one posted on Twitter.
“Norris Cole was such a funny and complex, likeable, nosy neighbour, sometimes insensitive. So much funny Norris moments/memories,” said another.
One fan offered “congratulations on a standout career and best wishes for retirement”, adding: “Shall miss him as Norris Cole, he is a funniest character, such a great man!
“Norris shall never be forgotten in Coronation Street and a huge legend!”
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