Qasim Akhtar is hoping to crack America when he leaves 'Coronation Street' - but is "so happy" his character won't be killed off.

Qasim Akhtar

Qasim Akhtar

The former 'Shameless' star will depart his role as Zeedan Nazir later this year and while the 26-year-old actor admitted it was a "hard decision" to decide to walk away from the famous cobbles, he is keen to explore other acting opportunities.

He said: "When I first started here, in my mind I told myself that I would like to do three years at 'Coronation Street' and then see what happens from there.

"By the time I leave I will have done four years so I got another year out of it. I've always been really ambitious and I still have that fire and hunger in my belly where I want to explore and do other projects.

"Because I am seeing so much more diversity in shows nowadays and the pressure that shows have got to introduce more Asian and black actors in to things, I feel like it's a great time for me to be out there.

"Just talking for myself, in the position I am in, being young and not having major commitments in my life, if there is ever a time to do it, it's now.

"It was a hard decision for me to make because I became really comfortable here but I thought to myself, I would rather go away from the show, try prosper and do different things.

"It has always been a dream of mine to go to America and work out there so I'd rather go away and if things didn't work out I would just be like, oh well but I would rather say oh well than what if."

Qasim is "very grateful" 'Corrie' bosses have not taken the chance to kill off Zeedan, and he is excited about being "free" to appear in other shows.

He added: "I am so happy because that puts you in such a great position as an actor as well. I take it as a compliment and I am very grateful because I like to believe that there will always be a place for me here in the future.

"I've not got somewhere in my mind where I would like to be, I just know I would like to have the opportunity to be out there and be free and be able to explore with different projects."