Actress Helen Worth is to leave Coronation Street street after five decades on the cobbles.

Worth celebrates her golden anniversary on the show next month, having played Gail Rodwell, formerly Gail Platt, since 1974.

The soap say her character Gail will “bid farewell to Weatherfield in a major storyline for the Platt family”.

Speaking on the decision to leave, Worth, 73, said: “I made the decision at the start of the year and spoke to the producers who were very kind and understanding.

“I have been truly blessed to have been given the most incredible scripts week in week out, and to have worked with fantastic actors, directors and a brilliant crew.

“The past 50 years have flown by and I don’t think the fact that I am leaving has quite sunk in yet.”

Gail first appeared on screen on 29 July 1974 and has been the centre of several major storylines over the past five decades, including one of the most controversial ones in 1999 when her 13-year-old daughter Sarah became pregnant.

Worth’s character was also in a relationship with Richard Hillman, who turned out to be a murderer. An audience of more than 19 million watched the story reached its climax as Hillman drove Gail and her family into a canal.

Gail holds the record for the series’ most married female character, having gone through six marriages.

Her total is just one behind long-running character Steve McDonald, played by Simon Gregson.

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Executive Producer Iain Macleod said: “Gail has given us countless hours of entertainment” and praised Worth for being a “consummate professional and a thoroughly good egg.”

In 2014, Worth won the outstanding achievement award at The British Soap Awards for her portrayal of Gail.

The Corrie star has appeared on the soap a total of 4,453 times, not far short of the record held by 92-year-old William Roache who made 4,773 appearances as Ken Barlow since the show first aired in December 1960.

Filming for her exit scene will begin next month.

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