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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 May 2006, 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
Actress Stephenson leaving Street
Debra Stevenson
Stephenson is moving south with husband James and their son
Actress Debra Stephenson is to leave ITV soap Coronation Street at the end of the year, producers have confirmed.

The 33-year-old, who has played Frankie Baldwin in the Manchester-based drama for two years, is moving to the south of England to be with her family.

Stephenson, who has a three-year-old son, Max, said her role had been "the best job I have ever had".

"We felt it was the right time to move back south, to give Max time to settle before starting school," she said.

"I had originally only planned to stay for two years but I didn't anticipate how much I would enjoy playing Frankie.

"I'm also keen to pursue other acting projects and I'm very excited about what the future holds."

Stephenson has also starred in ITV's Bad Girls and the BBC drama Playing The Field.

A Coronation Street spokeswoman said: "Debra has been a great asset to the show and her portrayal of Frankie Baldwin has been fantastic.

"However, when she joined the show we were aware that she only planned to stay for two years and we fully appreciate her reasons for leaving.

"We wish her every success for the future."

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