Debbie Rush has quit 'Coronation Street'.

Debbie Rush

Debbie Rush

The 51-year-old actress - who plays fan favourite Anna Windass in the ITV soap - is set to leave the show at the end of the year, with Anna appearing on screens until early 2018.

Debbie said in a statement: "I've had an amazing nine years and the decision to leave was not made lightly. I love playing Anna and will miss working with the fantastic cast and crew.

"I don't know what the future holds but I am excited to explore what other acting opportunities are out there. I am very grateful for all the brilliant storylines I have been given during my time on Coronation Street and am very much looking forward to what is in store for Anna in the run up to my departure next year."

However, there will be some big storylines ahead for Anna before her exit.

Producer Kate Oates teased: "It's always sad when a huge talent like Debbie Rush decides to move to pastures new ... but Debbie's decision to pursue other roles will allow us to play an exciting exit story for Anna, which will see her fighting for her family and tackling old enemies head-on."

Meanwhile, a source revealed Debbie decided to leave the ITV soap because she "wanted a new challenge".

A source told The Sun newspaper: "Debbie decided she wanted a new challenge. So when it came to signing her new one-year deal she told show boss Kate Oates - and Kieran Roberts, the show's exec producer - she would be leaving once that was up.

"They completely understood and despite wanting her to stay, gave her their blessing to move on. Debbie wanted to give them loads of time to think of a great way to see Anna leave the cobbles."

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