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Thursday, 23 November, 2000, 18:56 GMT
Alma to leave the Street
Coronation Street
Barrie has been in the Street for 11 years
Coronation Street actress Amanda Barrie - who plays Alma Halliwell - will leave the top-rated ITV soap next summer.

The 65-year-old performer, who has been in the show for 11 years, said she took the decision after much "soul searching".

She is one of a number of big names to announce their departure in the soap's 40th anniversary year.

Amanda Barrie
Amanda Barrie is looking for a fresh challenge
Others include Charlie Lawson (Jim McDonald), Jane Danson (Leanne Battersby) and Martin Hancock (Spider Nugent).

Barrie said: "As both the show and I have reached special birthdays this year, I thought it was about time I bowed out in the hope that there's one more show in me.

"I want to endlessly thank Granada and Coronation Street, but there has to be a time when things come to an end.

"This is something I've been thinking about for ages, but couldn't face up to the emotion of leaving or tear myself away.

"Now I feel it's time to hand over to the youngsters in the show who I think are so brilliant."


It's time to hand over to the youngsters in the show who I think are so brilliant

Amanda Barrie
The show's executive producer Jane Macnaught said: "We are sorry to see Amanda go, and wish her well for the future. She's been a much-loved character and we truly appreciate her loyalty and commitment to the show.

"As a producer I respect her decision and appreciate that she feels she has to move on. We will now work on an exciting exit for the character."

Alma, once married to the soap's rogue Mike Baldwin, worked for year's in the Street's café, but now works in the local supermarket.

Recently, the character was caught up in a ratings-grabbing siege at the supermarket.

Before joining Coronation Street, Barrie appeared in a string of comedy films, playing the lead role in Carry On Cleo.

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