Coronation Street star Bill Roache is reportedly taking a break from the soap for several months.
The Ken Barlow actor, 88, is said to have been forced to stop filming for the show after falling ill.
His last appearance was on March 10.
It is reported he was reluctant to take time off over worries he may not return.
An insider told The Sun: “For Bill to take time off is extremely unusual. He loves work and he’s as passionate about being on Coronation Street as ever. But he realised he had to listen to his own body.
“The reason he’s been able to work for so long and so passionately is he’s always looked after himself, and he still does, so he’ll be back as soon as it makes sense.
“Obviously, his time off has coincided with COVID too, where a number of the older stars are being kept away from the set anyway to be on the safe side.”
Speaking further, the source said he asked for a break and the writers had to create a storyline that would keep his character out of the picture.
They also said the writers have ideas for bringing him back in later this summer.
It has not affected filming on the soap. ED! contacted ITV for comment.
Bill Roache vows never to leave Coronation Street
The actor is the only remaining original cast member of Coronation Street, appearing since 1960.
He is the world’s longest-serving actor in a continuing drama, too.
Bill previously promised to remain on the show for as long as he can.
Speaking at the soap’s 60th anniversary celebrations, he said: “While I can do it and they want me, I will be there.
“Retirement is not on the radar at all. I have no plans for that.
“I don’t even like to think about how they’d write Ken out if I did leave. Because hopefully that is never going to happen.”
Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think!